First things first: Our Robots 101 live program happens today (Thursday), at 1pm PT. You can (and should!) sign up for this course. It’s going to be a good one. And it’s limited to the first 100 participants to log in, so be sure to jump on it.

Date: Thursday, January 24th
Time: 1pm PST/4pm EST
Where: make.co/live-learning

Topics covered will include:
-Tools and materials
-Robots and the human body
-Meet your robot’s brain
-Commanding movement
-Building a robot dancer’s body

An Arduino-focused recommended parts list will be sent to participants when signed up.

Now, some backstory:

A few years ago I participated in a video series called the Invent Off, a challenge that pitted two teams against each other to invent an IoT device that could save a life. With the tagline “Why Wait?” the goal was to see if cutting edge modern technology could be quickly leveraged for immediately beneficial purposes. My team (Claire Griffin, Trey German, and myself) cranked on our project for 3 days straight then presented it to the judging panel, which included TV host Jason Silva and engineering physicist Saura “Robotsaura” Naderi. It was a thrilling experience overall, and one that I’ve continued to appreciate largely because of the great friendships I made in a very short amount of time, from both teams, to the production crew, to the judges themselves. And one of my favorites of all was Saura.

Last year I got to spend a little more time with Saura at Bay Area Maker Faire, where she was showing off her latest group creation, an ornate dress that, when activated by a remote keypad worn on her forearm, would flow outwards, revealing four robotic arms that would articulate to do her bidding, from accompanying her in a dance to gently wrapping themselves around another person in a human-robot-human hug. It was a show stopper, and perfectly highlighted her engineering and creative genius.

This week, Saura joins us again, this time as a host of our latest Live Learning session — Robots 101, What you need to know to build robots. This 2-3 hour seminar for Make: Members will help guide the new maker to an understanding of what qualifies as a robot (or robotic mechanism), how to use various robotics components, and give a hands-on experience for designing and building your own robot. And as a viewer you will be able to interact with the instructor, getting personal guidance in real time. It’s a can’t miss experience — you’ll be glad you joined along.