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 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!
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!