Thursday, June 30, 2011

4 years, 6 months, and 100 Robots

Wow. We made it - after nearly 5 years since we started this project, I'm super happy to say that we achieved our goal. We found 100 kids in Pittsburgh, and we taught them how to build robots. This has been a really incredible experience, and I've learned more than I ever imagined. I really want to thank all our sponsors, volunteers, and especially Cheryl Jones at BBBS without whom this project never would have taken off. More to come later...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

96 and counting

We had an event this past weekend at Intel Labs in Pittsburgh. Thanks to Dean, Kyle, Cheryl, Snehal, and Dana for helping out. Thanks to Intel for a great space and also ordering pizza for the group. We had a great bunch of sharp kids come out..We realized we've built robots with 96 kids! Only 4 more until we hit our goal!

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Contest Winners

When our participating kids build robots at home and submit videos to us of their creations, we enter them into a drawing to win gift certificates to Toys-R-Us. Here is a video from one of our recent winners:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Build day at Intel Labs Sept 2010

We had a fun day building robots at Intel Labs in Pittsburgh. Many thanks to Intel for hosting us today!

The kids even got to see a real cutting edge robot used in research!

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More photos from the Sept 19th build at Intel

Test time!

Future robot builder...

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Build day at Intel Labs September 19th

Volunteers are needed for our next robot build day this weekend, September 19th. We'll be starting at 12pm.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

85/100 Videos are two great videos of robot projects that the kids made today. I should remind you that these kids built these robots in less than three hours with no prior experience.

The task we encouraged people to try today was "obstacle avoidance". The goal was to build a robot that could detect a vase filled with water using its ultrasonic sensor, and drive around it without knocking the water over. Nearly everyone completed the task in less than 3 hours..Here is one example:

One child was super fast at completing the task, so he went back to his "lab" and built a ball shooting robot (to keep sisters away):

85/100 Part Deux

Here are some more photos from today's event..

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Thanks to Dean Pomerleau and Intel Labs Pittsburgh for hosting our 100 Robots build day. Also, many thanks to Cheryl, Scott, Alex, Hanns, and Geoff, and Kyle for lending a helping hand. It was a great event today. I should also mention that today was our first event with the new NXT 2.0 robot kit. The new starter project is muuuch cooler than the previous one. We've now reached 85 of the 100 kids. Here are some photos from today's event:

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Build day this Saturday at Intel Labs

Intel Labs in Pittsburgh has been kind enough to host another robot build day at their office this Saturday. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Robot Build at Intel Research Part Deux

Here are some more pics from today's build. The challenge for today was to build a robot that could use an ultrasonic sensor to detect an obstacle (a vase filled with water) and avoid it. We only had one spill...:) Oh, and we used the Robotics Engineering CDs provided by the Robotics Academy at NREC (thanks Robin!)

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Robot Build Day at Intel Research

We had great time today building robots at Intel Research. Thanks to Dean and the IRP Lab for hosting this event (and providing food and tasty snacks!). And thanks to all the volunteers for their time. Stay tuned for another event in September..

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

August Build At Intel Research

Good news - Intel Research Pittsburgh has agreed to host a robots build day on August 15th. Contact Cheryl to sign up for this event. Hopefully they'll give us a demonstration of their "personal robotics" group.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

June event

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking of doing a 3-part robot building series this summer. We'll start in June...please email if you're interested in participating or helping out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crossing 70

A huge thanks to Kwadwo for helping us with our latest build day on March 28th..And I'll have to double check our records, but I now believe we've built robots with over 70 kids!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March Build coming up

Hi everyone, we'll have a build day coming up soon in March..please email me or Cheryl if you'd like to be involved.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

November Build

Thanks to Cheryl, Felix, Hanns, and all the others who attended our November build day. We'll see if we can schedule one more before the end of the year.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Getting organized..

Thanks to everyone who attended the 100 Robots meeting and for signing up on our mailing list..We look forward to see you at our build this week..

Monday, September 15, 2008

Organizational Meeting

Hi everyone,

As I mentioned in the ULS talk, we'll be having an organizational meeting next Wed (9/24) at 6pm in NSH 3305. Please come if you can!

ULS Talk

Thanks a lot to Thomas Witholt for letting me speak at the University Lecture Series. It was a lot of fun and people asked interesting quesitons. Thanks to everyone who came!

Monday, September 8, 2008

100 Robots Talk at the University Lecture Series

I have some very exciting news. A couple weeks ago I was contacted by the CMU Provost's office. Apparently some people there had read about our project on the CMU homepage, and they thought it would make an interesting talk for the University Lecture Series. The ULS is a weekly broad-interest talk for the Carnegie Mellon community. Anyway, I'll be giving the talk on September 15th, 4:30pm in 136A Baker Hall (Adamson Wing). Here's an abstract of what I'll be talking about:

Abstract: 100 Robots, A Grassroots Project to Inspire Pittsburgh's Children

Imagine receiving $1,000 in the mail with a challenge: do some good in Pittsburgh. What would you do?

I received this challenge nearly two years ago as part of Oprah Winfrey's "Pay-It-Forward" program. In response, I launched the 100 Robots project with a simple goal. Our mission is to identify 100 children who have limited exposure to science and engineering, and teach them about robotics. Since receiving the initial challenge, the project has raised more than $25,000 from community organizations and taught more than 50 children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to build a working robot.

In this talk I will present a case study of 100 Robots and explain some of the "nuts and bolts" of starting a community project. I will also talk about ideas you can use in your own project such as building trust, finding partners, and raising funds.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome back from Summer

Hi everyone..well I'm finally back in Pittsburgh after a few months in Toronto. I talked with Cheryl recently and we're both eager to get things rolling again for Fall. We will have a build day coming up in the next few weeks during mid-late September. Stay tuned for more infomation..

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer break

Schools out, people are heading for vacations, and I'll be leaving Pittsburgh for a few months. So we won't be having any build days over the summer, but we'll be sure to start up again in the Fall. Any matches who would like to work on their own should contact Cheryl directly.

Have a great summer!

Monday, May 26, 2008

100 Robots make the CMU homepage!

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by a CMU internal reporter. She heard about the project and wanted to feature us on the CMU homepage! She interviewed me and say the story would ran at the end of May. It just appeared on the main Carnegie Mellon page! You can read the story here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Another Google Build Day

Thanks a ton to Jordan, Cathy, and the other Googlers for probably our best build day yet. And thanks for Cheryl at BBBS for getting all the kids together. We had about 14 kids attend our latest build. And thanks to Google IT - who setup a bunch of laptops so kids could program the robots. Afterwards, we took everyone on a brief tour of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon. It was a really fun day! Photos coming soon..

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Major Contribution from the Grable Foundation

I have some very exciting news to share. About one month ago, I submitted a grant request to the Grable Foundation. This is a large non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh that invests in childrens programs. We're very happy to report that the trustees approved the grant request. In fact, we just received a check for $14,250, the remaining amount needed to complete the project!! We have now raised over $25,000. I am deeply humbled at the support that all of our donors have shown. We've built robots with 33 children so far. Along with the contributions from Grable and Google, we now have funds for 67 more. Let's get to work.