The KaleidaBot has got a lot going on. A flamboyant display of light, motion, and color, this dancing robot is equipped with a mobile triangular base, legs that move in and out, a spinning midsection, streamers, LEDs, and a kaleidoscope mounted on top. The triangular base is essentially a three-wheeled car, but majority of the wheels are covered by the body, creating the illusion that the car is moving independently. The legs consist of wooden dowels running through a 3D-printed base, moved up and down by an arduino. The midsection spins, lifting the streamers up using centrifugal force. And, of course, the design incorporates LEDs and a kaleidoscope for visual aesthetic.
A machine with this many moving parts isn't exactly easy to build. Dawson has taken on building the triangular base, while Jason and Andrew have been building the rest of the robot. The base, which Dawson prototyped in foam, has been finalized and built out of wood (though Dawson is still considering adding an LED strip to the base). The other, more complicated, part of the robot is still in its middle phases. This part was built from the bottom up. Jason and Andrew tell me that the process has been a smooth one, but slower than they expected. We all look forward to seeing the product of their hard work.
By creating the BeatBot, Sebastian hoped to make a dazzling visual display to accompany music. His idea was a small, spinning machine with lights programmed to move up and down based on the treble and bass frequencies of the song playing. Sounds like a cool idea? That's because it is. This machine, though still in the process of being made, will be coded to translate frequencies into numerical values, which are then communicated to the arduino controlling the LEDs. Sebastian built a wooden frame around the arduinos of his project, and has continued tweaking his design all week, addressing both issues with hardware and software. Though there is still a little programming and troubleshooting left before this project is officially complete, this design's intricate structure and entertaining function is sure to make it stand out.
As robotics is becoming more accessible, some modern robots are used for entertainment purposes, and as a demonstration of new technologies. In this studio, students will be introduced to the basics of robotics, come up with creative robot designs, and build robots from scratch. Key skills that students will acquire include CAD modeling, machining, electronics, computer programming, among many others. Students will also learn about actuation, sensing, manipulation, locomotion, and controls. While the studio’s name calls for making ‘dancing’ robots, students are free to make with any design they can dream up. It could be a humanoid robot, or have a completely unorthodox shape or size. Students will also design the robot’s dancing routines, and will build the hardware and the software necessary to carry out the specific motion autonomously, or through remote controllers.