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Video: Kit Turns Arts & Crafts Into Robots
7/12/2012

This crafty little man, powered by the Hummingbird kit, plays a drum. (Source: Carnegie Mellon University)
This crafty little man, powered by the Hummingbird kit, plays a drum.
(Source: Carnegie Mellon University)

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Beth Stackpole
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Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
Beth Stackpole   7/12/2012 8:34:26 AM
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Love this program and would be grateful to see more of these kinds of initiatives in schools. Does anyone else see a resemblance between the crafty man robot in the image and our president or is it just me??

Jennifer Campbell
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
Jennifer Campbell   7/12/2012 9:46:09 AM
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I especially like that they are putting an emphasis on getting young girls interested in engineering.

Yes, Beth, now that you say that, I do see a resemblance.

 

TJ McDermott
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
TJ McDermott   7/12/2012 10:11:15 AM
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This looks like Lego Mindstorm, done at a much lower cost.

Jennifer Campbell
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
Jennifer Campbell   7/12/2012 11:07:38 AM
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TJ, I'm not familiar with Lego Mindstorm. Am I correct in assuming, though, that several different things can be built, but that they must be built from the Lego kit? What I like about this is that the sky's the limit in terms of materials.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
TJ McDermott   7/12/2012 11:36:42 AM
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Lego Mindstorm has a logic controller at its heart, with sensors and servos for inputs and outputs.  Build a mechanism, program the controller, and watch your creation move.

Yes, you're limited to Lego hardware, but then again, when was someone LIMITED by Lego?

My statement about low cost was creating motion with paper (as shown in the image), compared to Lego (which has never been called a low-cost toy).

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
Rob Spiegel   7/12/2012 2:41:21 PM
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Nice story, and cool video, Jenn. There's a lot going on in engineering toys these days -- after about two decades with almost nothing. These new versions are more complex than the Erector Sets and Heath Kits of my childhood. Snap Circuits is another engineering toy.

Charles Murray
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
Charles Murray   7/12/2012 10:06:25 PM
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Yes, TJ, this does seem similar to Lego Mindstorms. I wonder if it uses a graphical programming language, as Mindstorms does.

chrisbartley
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
chrisbartley   7/12/2012 10:36:27 PM
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Beth: The "crafty little man" was intended to be Ringo Starr.  :-)

 

Video is here:  http://robotdiaries.posterous.com/beatlebot-ringo-video

Curriculum is here: http://robotdiaries.posterous.com/latest-postings-by-diane-lally

 

Charles:  The Hummingbird can indeed be programmed using a (open source) visual programming environment.  It's available here:  http://artsandbots.com/visualprogrammer/  Support for Snap, another visual programming environment, is coming soon.  More advanced users can program it in Java or Processing, with other languages coming soon.  See here for more info: http://www.hummingbirdkit.com/?q=content/software

 

(full disclosure: I work for the CREATE Lab and wrote the majority of the Hummingbird's software)

Nancy Golden
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
Nancy Golden   7/13/2012 1:12:37 AM
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I agree Jennifer - I love the creativity that can be introduced into these projects. Lego Mindstorm from what I have seen attracts mostly boys - they do classes at our local rec center. I can just picture an eigth grade girl designing a butterfly flapping its wings to put in her room using paper towel tubes and cardboard with paint and glitter...and learning all about programming, sensors and servo motors in the process...

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Crafty idea to spark interest in robotics
Beth Stackpole   7/13/2012 9:23:46 AM
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I agree Nancy, that this kit will do a lot to encourage girls to explore areas of interest they likely would never have explored if left to traditional robotics and engineering training. I have both a son and daughter and while my son played with Legos and Lego Mindstorm, my daughter wouldn't have touched Mindstorm with a 10-foot pole. But this kit would definitely make her take a second look.

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