A selection of hardware focused robot prototypes I made during my time at NORY. Each project was designed to be replicated by students ages 3-12.
Chichi the Magician
Chichi the Magician is a robotic magician’s assistant. After a child performs a mind-reading magic trick, Chichi helps to reveal the answer. Each child wires their own Arduino board to send the right “commands” to Chichi and perform a mind-blowing trick to their audience.
The robotic trick uses an Arduino UNO board to shift which color that gets displayed in Chichi's mouth. When plugging the jumper wire into different ports on the Arduino UNO board, the mouth spins.
Wireless Wally challenges students to create and invent robots that can fundamentally change how classrooms operate. What can we invent to make class more fun? Wireless Wally sits on classroom desks. When a student wants to participate, they can click on a computer mouse and Wally will communicate for them.
Wireless Wally encourages students to think creatively and feel empowered to express themselves in the classroom setting.
Wireless Wally went through many prototype iterations before landing on the computer mouse wireless control. I explored bluetooth modules with potentiometer knobs before realizing that the computer mouse is more intuitive to children since it's something they are familiar with.
The 2050 Future World prototype was developed in a week long sprint for NORY Summer Camp 2019. To kick off the brainstorming process, an overlay sketch was created in order to help generate as many ideas as possible.
The point of this exercise was to re-imagine the typical NORY classroom environment in the context of a limitless future world. What tech gear would kids want to wear in the future? Would inventions be equivalent to superpowers?
Using the results of the photo overlay sketch, I started to sketch out some more fully-formed ideas. These sketches would help to lead to the beginning phase of the prototyping process for the project.
NORY Summer Camp students span between the ages of 3 and 12. Throughout the brainstorming process, it was important to consider what these students would be most passionate about in the context of a future world.
What do children care about? What are they bored by and what are they excited by? How can robots and technology make an impact on their daily routine?
If students can remain motivated and engaged by their creations, it will nurture a future-thinking mindset. They will walk away from the project feeling prepared and empowered to problem solve for the future in any context.
I continued the development process with some more sketching.
Robotic wearables were a curriculum team favorite. They are interactive and can be easily personalized by each student to make it feel like their own.
Using the results of the brainstorming sketches, I shifted focus over to creating quick form prototypes. This helped immensely in addressing the parameters of the 2050 Future World project.
The main student/robot interaction occurs at the foot of the robot. When the student spins a potentiometer knob, it causes the robot’s arms to swing up and down.
The breakdown of the hardware consists of the following
• Arduino UNO Board
• Servo Motor
A round of play testing was conducted with some of our NORY campers before heading into the final round of edits.
This was extremely helpful because it clarified a lot of the questions that we had about the robots potential, such as: adjustability for various body sizes, ease of use with the technology, and whether or not students would feel motivated to interact with the robot.
As a team, we needed to re-evaluate the materials, building process, and functionality of the project in order to create for a more open-ended project for students to express themselves.
We headed back to NORY HQ to put some final touches on the project before it made its debut in the classroom!
The final 2050 Future World project was developed as a hands-on project to be instructed in a week long summer camp setting. Kids ages 3-12 were all confident creators of this project!