Gear Art vs RoboBrrd Banana Transporter

Check out this cool gear artwork piece that we made — or as the RoboBrrds called it, a magical banana transporter!

Watch the video for the entire story:

How this project came about was we wanted to create something for our backers on Patreon. Our first ideas were rather inanimate. We needed something that could move and look interesting. The gear art is the result of this thought.

The .stl files are available for you to download and print one yourself. You can find it on our Open Source Hardware page.

We also captured some ‘making-of’ timelapse footage and compiled it into a video:

One of the aspects of the design that surprised us was that we couldn’t find a formula for aligning the gears via experimentation. All of them required a ‘fudge factor’ in either their positioning or diameter. We got around this by just focussing on making each gear mesh with the one previous, and then finally working on the final gear.

Here are some of our favourite photos of the project:




We are experimenting with story-telling with our robots. We want there to be an entire world of these robots, where they are always plotting, building, and generally goofing around. Hopefully it makes the video more interesting and enjoyable overall.

One of the areas that could improve would be the speech bubbles. If they are added later in the video editing process, we could focus on animating the robots rather than moving the bubbles in and out. We have to learn different video editing software for this, it might take a bit of time.

It’s fun to get lost in Planet Zimpopodu with the robots. Let us know what you think!

If you want to see more projects like this, as well as behind-the-scenes sneak peek previews, consider backing us on Patreon.

Thanks for watching and sharing our new video. We’re already excited for the next ones! 🙂


RoboBrrd @ Open Hardware Summit!

Here are all the photos that we displayed of YOUR RoboBrrds! It was great to be able to have them all there ‘in spirit’! 😀

RoboBrrd Open Hardware Summit 2013

RoboBrrd Open Hardware Summit 2013

Here are some photos of RoboBrrd at the Open Hardware Summit!

RoboBrrd Open Hardware Summit 2013

Open Hardware Summit 2013
^ Photo by Mightyohm

Robo brrd
^ Photo by soycamo

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! 😀

RoboBrrd MIT

You can view the OSHW that we make over at And we will be making more OSHW 😉

Going to the Open Hardware Summit!

With many thanks to the Ada Initiative and Open Hardware Summit for the fellowship, RoboBrrd and the other robots, and myself will be at OHS!


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)


Go check out our OSHW projects. Learn more about OSHW. Join us for all this fun!

Bouncing off the walls, excited to meet everyone at OHS’13!