Norwich Science Festival (NSF) and Three New Robots

Norwich Science Festival

I’m delighted to announce that I’m in the process of acquiring no fewer than three new robots, and that two of these robots will be joining me at the forthcoming Norwich Science Festival (NSF). I’ve some workshop sessions using Ozobot Bits and Edison robots on Monday, 23 October (which is half term for local schools), so if you’d like to try your hand at programming a robot, please come along to The Forum in Norwich!

At the NSF, our workshops will be hands-on programming sessions, no experience required. Book here for Ozobots, or here for Edisons.

Three New Robots

I’ve been a great fan of all the different Ozobots since starting RobotFun, and the Ozobot Bit is one of the mainstays of our parties and school workshops. The new Ozobot Evo is, as its name suggests, an evolution of the Ozobot Bit. The Evo has all the same abilities of its predecessors in terms of line following, colour code programming and Blockly based coding, but with some cool added extras. It has a lot more lights and a couple of new sensors – a microphone and proximity sensors. This means that it is sensitive to obstacles and also to sounds nearby. So you can control it by clapping, for example. It also has a small speaker and a Bluetooth chip, so it can ‘talk’ to you and potentially other Ozobot Evos too! The Ozobot Evo comes with a set of the official Ozobot marker pens, a robot helmet, a cool robot playground that you put together, a little bag and small USB charging cable.

Secondly, I’m very much hoping to be joined by a Spirit Rover. This is a small roving robot whose design is inspired by the first mobile robots to be sent to Mars, Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit has loads of lights, a cool ultrasonic sensor for a head, a video camera and many other sensors. It is all controlled by no fewer than three computers. A PIC processor handles some of the low level electronics, and an Arduino and a Raspberry Pi share out the higher level stuff between them. At the time of writing this robot, which comes as a kit, is in transit from the US, but there’s enough time between now an the festival for me to take delivery, assemble and test it all out.

The third new robot that I’m very much looking forward to getting, though this won’t happen in time for NSF, is Hexa. This is a very cool, very clever six-legged spider robot from Vincross, that I’ve supported on Kickstarter. Hexa, which is about 50 cm in diameter with its legs spread, arrives fully assembled, and hopefully will be delivered some time near Christmas 2017.

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