Maker Faire Loves Robots

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Maker Faire Loves Robots

Maker Faire Bay Area 2012

If you love robotics as much as I do, you don’t want to miss World Maker Faire this year. There are nearly 100 robot related exhibits, presenters and performers to check out. Here are just a fraction to whet your appetite.

Robotics for Kids

Who loves robots more than kids? Well, maybe I do, but kids love them too.

Brooklyn Robot Foundry

Jenny Young founded the Brooklyn Robot Foundry to offer kids a chance to learn the fundamentals of engineering through building and playing with robots. They offer classes and parties that encourage kids to experience the wonder of building.

Central Jersey Robotics Group

Central Jersey Robotics Group.

The Central Jersey Robotic Group (CJRG) teaches Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) by empirical methods and encourages young and old to pursue science through robotics.

Junior CJRG Group members grades 4, 5, and 6 will present, demonstrate and discuss autonomous mobile robots that they built and programmed. Their robots use binary LED displays to indicate sensor values, follow lines and play Robot Sumo.

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CJRG Group member, author and scientist Chris Odom will present and discuss his George School high school physics class’ NASA Spirit Rocket project and Environmental Probe.

Scientist and Princeton Friends School science chair Brian Patton will demonstrate and discuss the new “Servo Scriber” software he has authored to program his patented Expressive Robot, ESRA and his numerous hacked toys.

David Peins will present short scheduled talks throughout Maker Faire weekend describing “How to Talk to a Robot” using Visual Basic programming language on robots and a multi-functional demonstration board.

Build an Underwater ROV

NYSCI and COSEE show kids how to build an ROV.

NYSCI has collaborated with COSEE OCEAN to bring some aquatic fun to Maker Faire. COSEE is a network for ocean scientists to share resources and support nationwide STEM programs. They provide education institutions with a curriculum to increase ocean literacy.

This Maker Faire kids or adults can come build and fly an underwater ROV, make a plankton net, run a plankton race, and help to create a bio-rock coral reef! Plan to get wet and plan to have fun!

Aerial Drones

Robots that fly have a cool-factor that cannot be denied.

AeroQuad Open Source Quadcopter

AeroQuad open source quadcopter.

The AeroQuad is an open source multicopter project that lets you build a flying robotic machine. It can be made either with an Arduino with a custom inertial measurement shield, or a new ARM based processor board as a flight controller.

AeroQuad will have flying quadcopters and hexacopters with on-board video transmitters so users can get a bird’s eye view of the fair. They want to inspire makers both young and young at heart take on a project that has elements of electrical, software, and mechanical engineering. AeroQuad will have their flight control board kits and ARF (almost ready to fly) multicopter kits available for people who want to get started in building their own flying robot.

Singing Dragon, Flying Phoenix

Dragon and Phoenix dance and fly.

Catch this unusual performance of Caipei and Hanfang Cao’s Dragon Flying Phoenix Dancing. Actors sing songs or dance while operating a fantastically designed flying Chinese dragon or phoenix. Or watch as two operators conduct an aerial fighting match.

Caipei and Hanfang are over 70 years old. It is great to see makers of all ages bringing their creations to Maker Faire. Caipei has a long history as an inventor. Now he and his wife have brought together the tradition of dragon and phoenix dances and aerial multicopters… and karaoke. You sort of have to see it for yourself.

Robotic Art

But is it art? We think so.

Art by NYSCI

NYSCI’s Karl Szilagi and Sean Walsh designed and built three robotic art pieces, which will be displayed in Rocket Park. Constructed of sheet metal, wire, motors and lights, these insect and arachnid creations are a sight to behold.

Digital Being

Taezoo Park’s Digital Being.

Taezoo Park is a Brooklyn based digital media artist and technician. His creation, Digital Being is an invisible and formless creature born from technological garbage. It reveals itself through atypical movements or interactions. Like a ghost in the machine, Digital Being is a soul interacting with the world through the technology is resides in. Could the digital codes of discarded electronics somehow combine and through error and mutation, bring about a sort of digital consciousness? Taezoo’s art explores this idea.

Taezoo’s curiosity for transforming abandoned technology into something new drove him to create artwork invested with life and consciousness. Taezoo has displayed some of his Digital Beings at last year’s World Maker Faire, and we look forward to seeing more of it this year.

Concerto for Robots

Ricardo Cid’s Concerto for Robots is a kinetic sculpture where geometric robotic forms dance to music with movement choreographed in computer code.

Humanoid Robots

Meet your robotic neighbors.

Designing Friendly Robots

Carla Diana’s friendly robots.

What does it take to make a robot look friendly, and why would you want to? Professional robot designer Carla Diana will show the creative process and thinking behind designing shells for some of the world’s most sophisticated humanoid social robots.

One of Carla’s shells houses Simon, a social robot designed by the Georgia Institute of Technology to study how robots and humans interact. Simon’s programming combined with Carla’s design make an expressive robot that communicates both verbally and physically.

Not all of Carla’s work is on humanoid robots. Her design work includes making everyday objects like floor cleaning robots more friendly and interactive. Whether it’s humanoid or utilitarian, more and more objects in our homes will be looking to make a personal connection with us.

InMoov’s 3D Printed Humanoid Robot

InMoov is an Open Source 3D printable animatronic robot. It was designed by Gael Langevin, but this build is by Chuck Fletcher. This particular InMoov will display eye tracking, Kinect and Leap Motion control.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

View more articles by Andrew Terranova


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