Week 13 – 12/12/2013 – Final Week!

Six of the projects wrapped up this week and the rest are SOOOO close. January will see even more completed! But here are a sample of some of the amazing projects the kids did!

Andrew built an awesome morse code robot that moves, blinks and beeps messages in morse code!

Yesenia turned her robot into an alarm clock that keeps time with a real time clock circuit and can wake her up in the morning with lights and sound.

Francisco built a “rescue robot” that can get into tight places and grab items to retrieve.

Dewey built a race car with a steering wheel and forward and back shifting. The transmitter has a range outside of nearly a mile!

Deanna's gripped bot has an infra red remote control to let her direct it from a distance and pick up and retrieve objects.

Kevin's flag bot can perform precision drill routines while displaying his heritage.

Week 12 – 12/5/2013

The home stretch on builds. As the students work on painting, final touches, tuning, etc. We would not have been able to support anywhere near as many custom final projects without the help of our two AWESOME volunteers. It is always a challenge working on technology. It is more so when you are helping others!

Week 11 – 11/21/2013 – Mathew, one of our awesome volunteers brought his “First Robotics” team and bot in to show off to the kids what the “next step” would be. Their “plus size” robot will be competing this spring in the south bay First Robotics completion.

For the Boebots the big news this week is Amy brought in custom parts for a half a dozen of the final projects. We have people building car dashboards to drive their bots around, precision controllers and grippers to build “rescue bots” and even an amphibious paddle wheel bot!

The couple of kids who are not yet to the 'custom' part of the class are suddenly VERY interested in finishing their lessons and joining in the fun!

Week 10 – 11/14/2013 – Designs of the individual projects are largely done and many of the kids are diving into construction. We had another student finish the planned classes as well. One of the kids discovered Morse code and has his robot beeping dots and dashes to communicate. One of the more interesting project proposals is for turning the boebot into a boat.

Several of the group are using grippers in their final projects, so a fair bit of gripper build work has been going on as well.

A special thanks to Noah who managed to get the final parts order in for the kids to start using next week.

Week 9 – 11/07/2013 – The final projects are in full swing this week. Several of the kids are starting to build gluing legos onto their robots, others are going for grippers, and yet another is turning her robot into a paddle wheel boat! It is a lot of fun seeing all the different ideas the kids come up with. A few of the kids are finishing up the last of their “lessons” but hopefully by next week everyone will be onto their “custom” build.

Week 8 – 10/31/2013 – Happy Halloween! The robots got costumes today to celebrate! About a half

dozen of the kids have submitted project proposals and we are putting in the order for the “custom parts” they will need. It looks like some of the early ideas include a “steering wheel” control system (which we will probably build using the Xbee to communicate.) A long range “rescue vehicle” and a super alarm clock!

Week 7 – 10/24/2013 – Most of the kids have the vision sensors up and running. The vision circuit involves breadboarding with a half dozen resistors, 4 leds and 2 receivers lots of wires. For many of them it's their first experience with circuits and learning how to debug electrical hardware.

With the eyes working, one of the kids did the extra exercise of having her robot play follow the leader with another one!

Week 6 – 10/17/2013 – The Eyes have it! Infrared distance sensors are the project for this week. The robot can 'see' the reflected IR light and move away from it, similar to the bump sensors but without touching anything. The IR receiver ALSO lets the robot detect when a 'typical' TV remote is pointed at them. Some of the kids will use this to “remote control” their robots in their final project.

Speaking of final projects, two of the kids are finished the whole project curricula and have started planning their final builds. We'll need to order a bunch of parts but it is only a matter of time until we have gripper robots, crawler robots and robotic alarm clocks! The rest of the kids will work on their Infrared eyes next week.

Also this week we got a second high school volunteer (Mathew) who has experience with robotics. This should be super helpful as the kids design and build their own projects in the coming weeks.

Week 5 – 10/10/2013 – The robots got whiskers! This is the first real sensor the kids built, and it took a while to get it all working. When the metal whisker bumps into something it closes a contact in the circuit they wired up and the robot knows it needs to back up and turn. It was a lot of fun watching the “robot races” that then ensued! Almost all of the kids got the wheels working today and a couple started on next week's light sensors.

Week 4 – 10/3/2013 – Things are really rolling now! Many of the kids got wheels attached to the robots and started working with the code to make them move. Once they did we rolled out long sheets of paper and attached markers to the robots – they then traced out flowers much like the old “Spirograph” toys.

The tap worked really well and most of the robot bodies are now assembled. Some of the kids are already building the tactile sensors for next week!

Week 3 – 9/26/2013 – By this week many of the kids are moving at different speeds; some are working hard to finish the music player (Lesson 2) and some have raced ahead to a fully rolling robot. Most of the kids spent this week getting the “body” of the robot connected to the base of the robot that will hold the wheels and batteries.

A few tricky parts of the build started to emerge. Some of the aluminum rods the are used as standoffs got cross threaded. We'll bring a tap in next week to fix those. Second, the servos are hard to 'zero' with the power off the USB ports. We'll bring in battery packs next week which should make that a bunch easier!

Also this week we got our first high school volunteer, Ari, who has been a super help giving us another pair of hands for those kids who need a little more hands on help.

Week 2 – 9/19/2013 – The second week of the program found the students connecting the Arduino “brain” to the robot's “body”. This is a 'shield' that has a small proto board on it. Once the “body” was assembled and the brain wired up, the kids used the proto board to wire up a small speaker to be the robot's voice. They uploaded music programs to the robot to test it playing different musical tunes.

In addition to the robot a short demo with 'programming' a ping pong ball catapult helped revisit some of the programming concepts from last week.

All the kids completed the build and programming, and almost all of them had time to get started on the survey. We are looking forward to putting wheels and motors on next week and really seeing the robots move!

Today we had 15 kids come by to do the project, and a half dozen more younger ones who are raring to go in the spring session.

Week 1 – 9/12/2013 – The first “real” week of the program. The kids got their kits, and started with learning the basics of programing the “Robot Brain” - the basic Arduino board. In an hour and a half all the kids got the computer to connect to the Arduino and upload a program which they then modified themselves – not bad given the Arduino is programmed in C++, the industry standard for writing complex high speed programs.

Several of the kids got all the way through programming constructs including loops, conditionals, Serial port I/O and using the LED lights on the board for signaling.

The demo this week was adding whiskers (and a cat face) to the basic robot so it would know when it bumped into something. For those who missed last week's “advertisement” of the program, Amy did a recap of the robot playing music and dancing.