RoboBrrd is an robot / animatronic character whose purpose morphs to mirror that of the virtual world. It is designed to be used as a tangible real world interface to virtual world learning applications. As a standalone robot, RoboBrrd is an entertaining platform that can be used to learn about robotics, Arduino, circuits, and programming.

Here is a teaser video for this RoboBrrd:

Here are other videos about RoboBrrd:
http://www.youtube.com/user/RobotGrrl91#grid/user/CAEAA1300E7BF036 (Big green RoboBrrd)
http://www.youtube.com/user/RobotGrrl91#grid/user/55260A24369DD65D (Learning Pet)

This Instructable will guide you through creating a RoboBrrd- all the way from the circuits to programming to the felt decorations. We will also include reasoning behind our design choices to further enlighten the Instructable.

Here is what a FIRST Lego League team coach (Eaglesnest Robotics) had to say about RoboBrrd:

"We are so excited about this [RoboBrrd] project. What a great way to introduce microcontrollers to our young roboticist. We so appreciate all the work you are doing to make Robotbrrd a great activity for our students. [...] Our goal is to grab their imaginations and run with them. Hopefully after building this project, they will not only want to learn more about programming and buidling robots but create inventions of their own. Thank you so much for helping Eaglesnest Robotics accomplish this task. We hope to create future engineers and Scientist, and also students who are like yourself."

With that said, read on to the next step for the inspiration, motivation, and future of RoboBrrd. Or you can jump right into the build on Step 2! Happy RoboBrrd’ing!

Step 1: Inspiration, History, Motivation

The Beginning
The history of RoboBrrd is quite extensive, but really fun. Back in March 2011, we were contacted by Adafruit Industries asking to make some robot videos for their Ask an Engineer show (before Google+ existed). They didn’t have any requirements for the robot, which allowed me to brainstorm about building a robot that can be made out of common materials, such as pencils and coffee stir sticks.

We chose to look at birds as inspiration for this robot.The interesting thing with birds is that they can be anthropomorphized extremely well, examples being Woody the Woodpecker and Donald Duck. I decided to put my own spin on a bird robot, and create one that is an iconic cube shape. The beak mechanism would be similar to a scotch-yoke mechanism to push both halves of the beak open, as opposed to lifting one beak half.

RoboBrrd started out as a 30cm version, with notable pencil eraser tops as eyelashes. This robot was fun to experiment with various behaviours and applications. We added in my robot mesh networking to have it communicate with my other robot, MANOI. Also, we created a Processing sketch that used the RoboBrrd as a tool to make “cosmic soap” artwork from a fluid dynamics meets physics simulation. It even appeared in an Adafruit Show & Tell through IRC, so viewers could message it and it would dance around. To top it all off, it was mentioned in MAKE Magazine Volume 27!

Learning Pet
Fast forward to September 2011, the Open Hardware Summit announced they were having a scholarship contest. They only announced this a little less than a week before the conference, and I wanted to create a RoboBrrd that I could bring and show around to everyone. The 10cm version of RoboBrrd was created from start to finish over 4.5 days (don’t ask how much time I slept during those days), and was able to work with the Android Accessory Development Kit or Processing to demonstrate the virtual to real world connection, with a focus on learning. The prize was $2000, which would have been able to get us started on being able to create more robust versions of RoboBrrd that we could give to students. Unfortunately, we didn’t win.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t stop here. The RoboBrrds were featured on MAKE Blog after the Maker Faire, and Adafruit Industries has kindly given me some more servos to create another RoboBrrd, with perfect timing for this amazing laser cutter contest opportunity.

People think I’m crazy with all of my RoboBrrds and staying awake to crazy hours in the morning working on them. The main motivation behind these robots is the challenge of creating a tangible embodied character that can interact with the virtual world. I was heavily inspired by a project at the MIT Media Lab with a similar physical-virtual world premise, but wanted to make something that can be taken everywhere and thrown into a backpack at the end of a school day. Something where the learning can be brought with you everywhere, and interface with anything. RoboBrrd would mainly serve as a physical tie-in to the virtual world learning, aimed at K-6 students.

Our ultimate goal is to be able to create RoboBrrds and work together with schools to give RoboBrrds to students as DIY kits that they put together, and then use as a tool. This is extremely valuable, as the students will have a special connection with their RoboBrrd since /they/ put it together and are able to fix it. They are learning about various subjects while using their creation. It is a magical experience.

We have had a lot of fun with the RoboBrrd platform, and it is only just beginning. We are extremely excited about this, as we already have had some RoboBrrd fan artwork sent to us. We refined RoboBrrd so that there is a clear Instructable to build one, so everyone can get started.

With that said, let’s go and build a RoboBrrd!
We really appreciate your efforts on this project . I assure you that we will give it our best to become one of your first prototyes. When our Robotbrrd is complete we will post up what we have. As an instructor and teacher at Eaglesnest Robotics Learning Academy, I am proud that this activity will be entered into our curriculum and used to teach many of our students how to program and construct a robot. Thank you for your efforts. Our Vote is in.<br><br><br>Sean Lewis<br>Eaglesnest Robotics<br>www.eaglesnestrobotics.com<br>&quot;Exploring Young minds through Science and Technology.&quot;
Thanks so much Sean! It's always a pleasure seeing NEON NOODLE's robots on the Robot Party. :)
<p>BRAVOOOO... Very Well...</p>
<p>Impressive :-)</p>
Our best end goal should be competent to produce RoboBrrds along with band together through educational facilities to make RoboBrrds towards scholars because Build it yourself solutions them to put together, and utilize as the program. It is extremely helpful, as the scholars have a exceptional hitting the ground with their very own RoboBrrd considering that /they/ build it and therefore are capable of make it better. These are understading about several subject areas aided by the their production. It is just a marvelous expertise <a href="http://rate-my-professors.com/" rel="nofollow">http://www.rate-my-professors.com/</a> .
Hi ! I really love your project. I'm trying to make a Robobrrd but it's not easy to find the different parts in France. Could you give me more details about them ( references for the electronics and circuits). Thanks a lot!! And once again : BRAVO !
Whoa. My kids would love making this. Thanks!
Awesome project. I am a teacher at an elementary school and this has given me some great ideas for lesson plans.
There's a problem with two of the images for the bottom face. The thumbnails are present, but when you click on them, they are &quot;not found&quot;. The missing images contain the dimensions for the bottom face.
Heya!<br><br>Just uploaded all of the design files to GitHub. There are pdf versions available too, so you can download the entire repository as a zip and get all of the dimensions. :D<br><br>https://github.com/RobotGrrl/RoboBrrd-Design-Files<br><br>Hope that helps!
Yes, this is a known issue. Since this was an entrant into the laser cutter contest, the rules don't allow us to edit the Instructable. :/ We'll update it as soon as we can!<br><br>The weird part is that the image itself was uploaded fine, and worked fine for a few hours afterwards. Something strange must have happened on their server.<br><br>There will be more CAD images uploaded soon as well, I'll reply back with more details :)<br><br>Thanks for the comment!
Beautifully done. Inspiring young mind will benefit much. You're motivating them into a better future. ○☺○
Thanks so much Evelyn and alfiefalf!
I'm Doing my best to draw some good attention to the instructables site, I think maybe giving my family and friends the link to your page for RoboBrrd might help just a bit...<br><br>N2TOH<br><br>Pst, ... Laser cutters are cool, pass it on....
Thanks N2! Every bit helped, I'm sure. :)
What a wonderful project- thank you so much for sharing! I've been working on a robot project with my three boys and this has given me some great ideas. :)
Thanks Honus! Congrats on being a finalist in the laser cutter contest.
Your instructable is very detailed, but I think this step is not easy for beginners to follow. The schematic with the 2 protection diodes is on page 10 in the datasheet, not page 9 and it is difficult for beginners to see how the parts are connected, if they are not used to read datasheets, e.g. the right polarity of electrolytic capacitors and the connection of the LM317. It is not the circuit you are using, but I think this a good example how it could look like: http://laserpointerforums.com/attachments/f42/31562d1298103794-diy-homemade-laser-diode-driver-31410d1297294173-logical-way-setup-2x-lm317-driver-lm317.jpg
Off by one error on the page number, apologies!<br><br>There were additional pictures of a breadboard as well that help with the wiring.<br><br>I'll revisit this step and post some step-by-step soldering pictures for this on some perfboard, this should help! Plus, perhaps a drawing of it in Fritzing or the like.<br><br>Thanks for your feedback!
RoboBrrd &lt;3
So cute and it hula hoops!<br><br>This is a very thorough instructables and a very interesting project to introduce younger children to robotics and programming. I love the concept and the idea that you used simple everyday materials for the construction was ingenious!<br><br>I hope you get the funding you need to create your kits, I know I will certainly buy two. One for me and one for my sister who is applying for teaching jobs in elementary and high school for technology! She loves these types of things to show the students. She tutors a young girl now and showed her how to make a vibrobot using a toothbrush. <br><br>Good Luck! Wonderful instructable!
Put us down for at least 5 to start with.
Thanks sailormoon (your username brings back memories hahaha)!<br><br>Hopefully that young student will keep interested in robotics and make cool robots too. :)<br>
Such great creativity and accessibility, awesome!<br />
Thanks a bunch mikeasaurus! I love your halloween cheese burgers! Hahaha so cool. :)
This is incredibly thorough documentation.
Thanks James! Lookin' forward to seeing your 3d printer on the Robot Party this week! :)

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Bio: Maker of RoboBrrd!
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