Do you have kids, or are you a kid at heart? If so, do yourself a favor and visit Indiegogo to sign up as a RoboBrrd contributor. I am definitely looking forward to working with my kids to build our very own RoboBrrd! How could I not contribute to this project?
I’ve been following the progress of Erin Kennedy, aka RobotGrrl, the creator of RoboBrrd, on her project since she had started back in 2011. The first time I’d seen RoboBrrd was on the Make magazine website as a robotics project, and from that moment I understood that she’d hit on something that was very special.
This was a robot built from popsicle sticks, felt, pipe cleaners and ping-pong balls! This was an inherently friendly, approachable robot. It was also a brilliant learning platform. By building it out of ordinary items it took away the fear of tinkering with it. It is endlessly customizable, just break out the glue gun and some popsicle sticks and you can add new functionality!
RoboBrrd fully embraces the Maker philosophy that you don’t really own something unless you can tear it apart and customize it. We need to let kids know that it’s OK to do this, that it’s not off-limits. The best way to learn is to tinker. If kids are afraid to touch a robot lest they break it, how can we expect to them to ever build up confidence that they can create something on their own?
The production version of RoboBrrd relies on somewhat more sturdy laser-cut MDF boards that can stand up to the abuse that kids will likely dish out to it. I still like the crafty feel of the project and the fact that it embraces customization. I suspect that kids will be more likely to personally identify with a robot that they can make their own, and are encouraged to decorate and modify to their heart’s content.
I can’t wait for my RoboBrrd kit to arrive. I’m looking forward to seeing what types of behaviors we can code for this robot that take advantage of the light sensors, LEDs, speaker and servos. Hopefully this will be a fun learning experience for my kids and me!
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