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Robotics Workshop – May 2018

Robotics Workshop – May 2018

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Robotics at Richmond Library!

On Saturday 5th May 2018 I partnered with Llewelyn from Think Learn Create in leading a robotics workshop at Richmond Reference Library.  We also had the help of two fantastic volunteers (Beverley & Rob). Nine boys attended aged from 7 -14. Unfortunately, no girls signed up this time. Fear not!  Girls you’ll be next – I’m running a girls-only coding & tech event in July! It was a fantastic venue. The high ceilings and a huge window that overlooked the river gave me and the event a nice relaxed feeling.

Weeks before, I’d spent time with Llewelyn & my parents preparing the components & the format of the workshop.

On the day, the Kids had to work in pairs to build & then programme their robots. They also had to mount a Pi Zero (it is the smallest version of a Raspberry Pi) & a motor controller board onto the chassis of the robot. The Raspberry Pi on its own does not have the components needed to drive the robot’s motors. This is why they added the motor controller board. The one they used was called a Picon Zero.

Before building the robots the kids had to choose the type of motor (there were different speeds to choose from:80, 100,150 and 200 RPM. RPM stands for revolution per minute. It is the number of times the motor spins per minute). They also had to choose the wheel size.

In the Workshop introduction, I made them aware of some design considerations, relating to the motor speed and the choice of wheels. For the motors, I reminded them that faster means less control and less pulling power. This means that the robot will have more difficulty going up hills or pulling objects. As for the wheels, the bigger the wheels the faster the robot. However, a faster robot is not always the best option to go for! especially when trying to race through a maze. Oh! I forgot to mention that the finished robots had to compete in a timed race through a maze at the end of the session.  After these little hints, I let them get on with their choice!

Once the making was done we started the coding.  We used Python (a text-based computer language) to program the motors of each robot to move forward, backward, sharp left, sharp right, smooth left, smooth right & to stop. 

There were a few problems during the workshop.  For example, we used to many of the same type of wireless game controllers to control the robots, and at times they got confused & began to control the wrong robot!. Thankfully, we managed to successfully troubleshoot most of the problems that we faced and the kids were happy to get their robot up and running so they could take part in the maze competition! 

I enjoyed working with the Raspberry Pi & Python for this workshop because I am still learning a lot about them. The activity, including the problems, taught me quite a few new things which I’ll be able to use in future Raspberry Pi or Python projects. The build was fun & challenging because there were decisions to be made that would have an effect on the speed and the maneuverability of the robot.  



Hi, my name is Avye and I love making, coding, designing, exploring new technology and swimming! This site is about the things I get to experience, discover and enjoy. Welcome to my world!

1 comment so far

Nicholas HughesPosted on8:41 am - May 7, 2018

This is amazing work!
I would love to see what code you where working with.
Awesome! Keep it up!

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