Hacking Mr. Robot

It is that time of year when your schedule is loaded to the max with projects, to do lists, and more. As we prep two teams to prepare for state competition in robotics and as I work to push out a new makerspace after school program of high quality………I have something even bigger to announce.

The last two years I have worked with small groups of students to build Mr. Robot. These were students pulled from study hall and other classes who had their work done. These students all had different abilities and prior experiences with robotics and building(from zero past to a little bit). Over time we were able to assemble the robot. The robot has been built and rebuilt many times as they learned the hard about build things incorrectly. Mr. Robot had an arm move backwards, he had a kink in his neck and only looked one way and recently his arm fell off.

These are moments of beauty because they reinforce taking care of the small details and learning to problem solve. I actually live for these moments to watch how students respond.

This year, we want to upgrade Mr. Robot. He needs a new facelift. He needs a real name. He needs to do more. He needs to make a presence in our school.

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It is about to happen.

Currently Mr. Robot has lost his head and arm. We are reworking the motor system. We are developing a list of upgrades.

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As we work to assemble our Mr. Robot team and purchase our parts, here are a few things to be on the lookout for over the next several months.

  1. Mr. Robot will have an official name(school wide vote)
  2. Mr. Robot will have eyes that work
  3. Mr. Robot will have a face uplift where we are hoping to add a few more lights to give feedback(think: mouth)
  4. Incorporate Raspberry Pi to operate the robot via wifi and to take over controls of the robot.
  5. To record the life of a robot, we are also looking at connecting Google Glass to his face.
  6. Why not add a camera because what could be cooler than a robot photo booth?
  7. We cannot share all of our ideas yet….

The team is being assembled. The ideas are being brainstormed. Things are in development. I am so excited.

This is the biggest engineering challenge I have ever taken on before as an educator, engineer myself, and working with students at a middle school. I have never been more excited.

We will begin operation starting in January. Be on the lookout for updates, his(robot) own social media pages, and hopefully a brand new way of teaching and educating students about robotics.

Take a look at Mr. Robot in these images. These are his before snapshots before he undergoes his transformation. He will emerge a new manbot soon!

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