A while back when we wanted to start developing RoboBrrd into more of a kit version, we received a grant from Wyolum. There’s a great article featuring Justin Shaw describing more about Wyolum, Open Source Hardware, and STEM.
One of our favourite parts of the article:
Our stated mission is to “promote Open Hardware.” Many small projects are out there that need only a small financial nudge to succeed. The grants are too small to pay anyone’s salary, but are large enough to buy hardware, or print circuit boards, or to purchase tools. The grant winners actually end up making the much larger investment of time. While not limited to students, all of the grant winners so far have been college or graduate students. The Open Hardware vocabulary grows with each successful design, so we all benefit from their success.
One of the ways Botbait enjoys spending its time is by playing with fish (of course)! These fish live in a special habitat… SPACE! They float around the cosmic-coloured waves and go wherever the ‘water’ current directs them.
Check out the video!
Botbait and the Space Fish is an interactive application made in Processing.
You can download it, view the source, and connect it with your own Botbait! Learn more, here.
Now that it’s October, it’s time to begin thinking about what costumes our robots will be wearing!
What will your robots be dressing up as? Or will you be creating a brand new robot for Halloween?
Two RoboBrrds with a BIG adventure ahead of them!
The goal with these RoboBrrds is to have them play Hunt the Wumpus using GPS coordinates.
Hunt the Wumpus is an early video game, based on a simple hide and seek format featuring a mysterious monster (the Wumpus) that lurks deep inside a network of rooms. (from Wikipedia)
The idea is to modify the game into ‘Find the RoboBrrd’, changing the bats into flapping wings, the wumpus into moving beak, and more. The Brrds are equipped with a stand, a GPS, a LCD to display text, and of course LOTS of colourful feathers.
Jac Goudsmit has been helping his grandkids along with building the RoboBrrds, and they did all of the building, soldering, and decorating! Definitely deserving of a RoboBrrd-round-of-applause!
You can follow more of their RoboBrrd adventures on Jac’s Google+ here, check it out!
Here are all the photos that we displayed of YOUR RoboBrrds! It was great to be able to have them all there ‘in spirit’!
— RobotGrrl (@RobotGrrl) September 7, 2013
Here are some photos of RoboBrrd at the Open Hardware Summit!
— RobotGrrl (@RobotGrrl) September 6, 2013
All the RoboBrrds and robots had a great time at MIT for OHS! The most memorable moment was having a RoboBrrd Backer walk up to us the night before and say: “I love my RoboBrrd!”! It was SUPER COOL!
You can view the OSHW that we make over at robobrrd.com/oshw. And we will be making more OSHW
Open Hardware Summit is September 6th at MIT. It’s an annual event celebrating all the efforts in OSHW, learning more about it, and meeting the people behind the projects. We’ve been there in 2011 and 2012, and each year it is fantastic. (Check out my older posts about OHS here).
We will have a demo table set up in the hall where we will be showing off RoboBrrd, Buddy 4000, and Botbait. There will also be photos of the RoboBrrds that other people have made, so that they can be there (in spirit) too. Please stop by and say hello to the robots if you are there!
One of the works-in-progress that will also be there is this fern-like thing using flexible links.
The Kingston Whig (local newspaper) wrote up a nice story about us! It was on Page 3 of Saturday’s newspaper. Also online here.
One of the reasons why I’m excited to go to OHS this year, is that I’m intrigued to find out what motivates OTHER PEOPLE to use OSHW. Not: why OSHW-Makers create OSHW — but why do people use it.
Reflecting on RoboBrrd, its over-arching real-world purpose is (quite obviously) to instil more FUN in the world. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ RoboBrrd doesn’t cut it for all people, so then adaptations and modifications arise.
It’s through RoboBrrd’s inherent creativity, that people are motivated to change it.
Aside: One of the most recent mods we have seen is a functional, miniature, Arduino-sized Brrd. Wow!
So, that is the answer for RoboBrrd. But what is it for other projects? Is there a common theme between all of them?
How can we encourage more modifications and derivatives? Wouldn’t that be great, if there were more? Is there a way this can be done, and improved? This leads in to my next topic of interest:
Now that I have some more experience with OSHW, one of the weird aspects of it that I’ve noticed is that (for some projects), all OSHW is to them is a badge of honour. While this is a good first step… there is something more to it.
One of the visions I have is that OSHW should be an activity that everyone is taking part in, rather than just a status you achieve by making files available and following the definition. It should be an on-going adventure that connects the community together.
What does that mean? Here is an example with two possibilities, assuming an un-assembled and assembled kit:
1) When building the kit, there can be ‘tie-ins’ or ‘hints’ about how the builder can modify whatever they are making to suit their liking, using OSHW.
2) There can be more articles, documentation, tutorials, inspiration, etc, out there for people to read about and tie in possibilities of what they can make using whatever they have.
With that said, this isn’t exactly easy. It requires a huge amount of effort for any project. First, getting people to actually make what you have made can be tough… then inspiring and encouraging them even more to use the OSHW and modify it to their liking is even trickier.
This vision is something that I’m striving towards. Not exactly doing it perfectly right now, but improving through the various robot projects.
Of course, this is just in my experience through RoboBrrd and Buddy 4000. Perhaps I’m just too obsessed with seeing more fun modifications. Either way, discussing this with like-minded people at OHS will be fun (and hopefully challenging).
There is also this year’s badge that people are going insane about. It’s cool, but must admit that I hope it won’t be too much of a distraction… The e-paper looks nice (thanks Justin Shaw for the photo)
Bouncing off the walls, excited to meet everyone at OHS’13!
This technique can be used to build flexible areas in a robot, allowing it to have more movements than being directly driven by a servo.
Check out the tutorial and try it out here.
Also see our Learn page for more tutorials and things to try
Reacting to light is one of the most basic behaviours that many animals have in common. It’s only obvious that we should make RoboBrrd have light behaviours as well!
Check out the tutorial and try it out with your own RoboBrrd here.
Also, we re-organized our Learn page- it’s much clearer now!
Here’s Botbait watching a new fellow bot being created!
Botbait appeared on the MAKE blog the other day:
Check out the article here. (Thank you John Baichtal for writing it)
Botbait also appeared as a Gadget Master at Electronics Weekly:
Complete article here. (Thank you Alun Williams for writing it)
We have heard some interesting feedback from people-
If you wanted to build your own tentacle mechanism tail (without the top pieces, but with more vertebrae), there is now a bundle HERE for $29.95.
One of the most common questions is: Is it hard to make?
Botbait is challenging, but it is possible to make it. We are currently working on the instructions, but it will serve as a useful guide for anyone looking to make one. There is also the in-depth video.
From wondering about how cats would react to this robot, to imagining creepy alien designs for Halloween, to how they can react to Gangam Style, it has been fun to hear the feedback.
We sold our 1st Botbait kit yesterday, and are printing the pieces as we type!
Who will be the 2nd kit? They are available in the store now
THANK YOU to everyone who has shared about Botbait on their social networks. It really helps spread the word and reach more people.
Learn more about Botbait here.