Ted, Damon, and I have been gearing up for future RoboSlam workshops. We have been looking for sponsors to help us continue and scale up our work. For now, we’ll have to keep things fairly small and simple. We’re not letting the lack of funds hold us back too much! We’ve got to keep our momentum going!
During my Fulbright fellowship, I had several official projects. Along the way, I adopted a number of other projects–like RoboSlam–where I could learn and also contribute.
Ted and Damon are so talented and passionate about what they do that it’s impossible not to want to contribute to the success of their project.
While I was away studying in Rome, Ted and Damon hosted a workshop for people we hope will want to become facilitators of RoboSlam. It’s part of our strategy for getting more people involved in the project.
Ted, Damon and I met to map out plans for a RoboSlam workshop for facilitators.
We upgrade the design and the instructions each time we offer a workshop.
Of course, we drank lots of tea and coffee (see all the cups!?!). Ireland has, I have been told, the highest per capita consumption of tea on the planet.
At the end of the meeting, we went to see the Dean (Dr. Mike Murphy).
At the following workshop, Damon took a picture of the group. It was small but enthusiastic!
Here’s a diagram of the newest robot design.
Please visit the RoboSlam blog to see the newest photos of our recent robot programming and testing activities. Here’s one of the featured photos form that post:
Engineering lecturers Frank Duignan and Mick Core explaining concepts to two Transition Year students at our May RoboSlam.
I’ve still got dozens upon dozens of images to post of robot building, but for now I’ll skip to the end and show you how things shaped up….
RoboSlam Group Photo
A huge “thank you” to the 37 amazing students who participated in RoboSlam last week… your enthusiasm for robot-building and dedication to learning made the week a success for us all!
We are running a RoboSlam robot hacking workshop with high school (transition year) students here in Ireland. Having great fun and learning circuitry, programming, and lots more!
My engineering colleagues, Drs. Ted Burke and Damon Berry, hosted a brilliant RoboSlam last Friday. They had recruited a diverse crowd of participants to help them refine the way they teach kids to build robots. You can see the basic method (which is being tweaked for use with a new group of kids in May) on their RoboSlam website. I’ve attempted to capture the excitement (and my confusion) in the images below.
Introduction to RoboSlam
Opening our kits
Most of the parts fit into one little box
The RoboSlam site provides step-by-step instructions
Emma and her nephew, Ryan
Exploring my kit of parts
Ted offering assistance
In retrospect I see I’d already made a mistake!?!!
Here, I felt I was making progress
Richard Hayes gets animated
Damon, Finbar, and John considering techniques
Full steam ahead for Gavin
Mike, Ted, and Sarah Jane making swift work of their robot
Ryan and Emma were flying along, too!
Mike assembling the chassis
Mike and Sarah Jane worked so well as a team…
…it made me wish I wasn’t working alone….
…becasue all the teams around me were progressing nicely.
Ryan and Emma got their lights blinking and wheels spinning.
Meanwhile, Ted had to help me troubleshoot.
Sarah Jane made quick work of the programming tasks.
But it turned out my two chips were both defective, and I had a couple of wires “crossed.”
Mike and Sarah Jane’s success attracted an audience.
Richard had his robot blinking and spinning in no time, too.
Finbar O’Meara’s robot i action.
Finishing touches for Ruth’s robot…
…followed by a successful test run.
Michael had structural issues similar to mine.
Damon Berry and John McGrory discussing programming
A proud robot owner
Ted… still diagnosing my problems 😛
I was really ready to head to Ryan’s Pub once we finally got my robot blinking and its wheels spinning… sort of.
Where we discussed the ins and outs of robot construction
over pints of Guinness and cups of tea.
Before the event, Ted sent me this:
You’re receiving this because you’re on our list of participants for the upcoming RoboSlam workshop. Hopefully you’re still willing and available! If so, please reply to let us know so that we can confirm our numbers.
The details are:
- Date: Friday 22nd March
- Time: 2-6pm
- Location: DIT Kevin St, room TBC
What happens over the course of the afternoon is this:
- We give each of you a bag of carefully selected low-cost components and a link to some online instructions.
- You build and program a small autonomous robot.
- Damon and I hover around offering friendly guidance.
- We all try out our robots!
We previously ran this workshop as a public event in the MAKESHOP which is part of the Science Gallery at Trinity College. It was a resounding success and it convinced us that this has real potential for a wide audience. Our next workshop with ordinary participants is with a larger group of transition year school students who will be visiting Kevin St in May. What you (extraordinary participants) will be doing on March 22nd is basically the same activity that the participants normally do, but what we’re trying to achieve in this session is slightly different:
- Improvement: We want your ideas on how we can refine the RoboSlam recipe. You have been selected for your expertise, wisdom and creativity. Experience the workshop, then think carefully about how we can make it better.
- Promotion: We want to recruit mavens. Makers clubs and workshops are emerging as a critically important channel for getting talented people with a natural interest in technology involved in engineering. We think RoboSlam is a good recipe, so we’re eager to bring it to a wider audience.
Once we get the robots working, we may wish to reward ourselves with a visit to e.g. Ryan’s for some scholarly reflection on all that we have learned. Naturally, this part is optional.