Education

Weaver Robots a Big Hit at Sydney Maker Faire

Full disclosure: I have had the pleasure of working with the maker Fernando Vega for a year, after seeing the first Weaver prototypes at Incubate.org.au I recruited him to help me with our hardware project.

Weaver Robots Swarm

Weaver Robots Swarm

This past weekend I took my sons to the Maker Faire in Sydney to play with robots. In particular the Weaver Robot. For the life of me I don’t know why its taken me so long to write this story but I have been working with Fernando for a year now on a hardware project and given he is so quietly spoken and not at all self promoting, he doesn’t talk much about the 10 or so amazing Weaver Robots he has created.

Weaver Social Robot

Weaver Social Robot

So now I have had some time to play with them it’s time for me to talk about them.

Who?

Fernando Vega, Mechatronics Engineer from Colombia currently residing in Sydney.

What is it?

A three wheeled educational robot for kids to control using any IOS or Android device with a touch screen. Includes a

  • Distance Sensor
  • Light Sensor
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Rotation Sensor
  • Microphone and speaker
  • Compass
  • LED Matrix 8×8
  • Lamp
  • Wi-Fi
  • Omni wheels – motion in any direction

Where can you get one?

You can’t yet, Fernando is still fine tuning the fabrication and operation and making them production ready before launching a Kickstarter Campaign. Weekends like the maker faire where you have hundreds of kids playing with them all weekend are part of this process (as we can attest having seen at least one dead robot after being trampled by a rampant 10 yr old) as well as numerous schools workshops he has run over the past year . My sons loved playing with them and the Weaver workshop was constantly full of kids and adults driving them every time I walked past, one of the more popular exhibits of the show. While you can’t order one yet you can signup at Weaver.me to be notified when he is ready to begin the first production run.

What can you do with them?

First of all it’s a lot of fun to get a bunch of kids playing Robot Soccer with them, however the real benefit is when the kids start to use the programming capability that Fernando has built into the app. Kids can program the Robots to carry out tasks on the app using simple visual commands and by doing so get some idea of how to get the Robots to operate. Its a great way to introduce young people to what it takes to make things and get them interested in what promises to be one of the highest growth careers in the next decade. It’s ideal for schools that have an active IT and technical program and want to bring introductory robotics into the classroom.

UNSW Commercialisation Manager launches Kickstarter Campaign

Fabulas-Kickstarter

Fabulas-Kickstarter

Sydney based Steve Brodie normally spends his days commercialising scientific research and inventions from professors and researchers but has spent his spare time this year working up a great educational project and has just launched a campaign on Kickstarter.com to help fund the completion of his new app Fabulas.

Fabulas is an interactive story telling app for encouraging creativity in children and allows kids and adults to collaboratively build stories where they get to decide the storyline with billions of possible combinations.

Bodie who is the Open Innovation Manager at University of NSW along with fellow UNSW IT staffer Anatoli Kovalev previously launched an app called Thinking Thingambob which helps users with creativity and brainstorming which had modest success on the Apple App Store. They have created the concept for Fabulas based on the user feedback they received from their first app.

Insert your kids photo

Insert your kids photo

I know my kids would have loved this when they were little so assuming Kickstarter has the right audience hopefully they will make their goal of raising £36,000.

It’s also great to see University Commercialisation staff getting out and building something of their own. Good luck guys.

Enhanced by Zemanta