Fun Board Game – Robot Turtles

While you spend plenty of time in front of a bright screen learning the software part of robotics, why not take a break and teach your children the algorithms used in robotics movement and actions.

Robotic Turtles is a game that teaches your kids a lot about programming in a fun, easy to discover way that’s not as dry as running them through the usual computer-based coding exercises.

Here’s a short video on the idea behind the game.

You can grab a copy of it when it is finally released in June.  Go to

OWL TechFair 2014


I’m excited to participate in this year’s Open World Learning (OWL) Tech Fair. A one day event in Denver to celebrate tech.  I’ll be working with students on the Lego Robot Challenge.

This year is the 5th annual event which promises to be the biggest OWL TechFair ever. The event will feature dozens of projects created by middle school and elementary students in OWL.

The OWL TechFair will feature four main events:

  1. ePortfolio – students submit their projects in advance and winners are announced on site. Categories include art and animation, game design, Interactive learning projects, writing/research, robotics, graphic design, and stop motion animation
  2. Tech Challenge – Teams from each OWL elementary site will showcase their MicroWorlds skills in a live competition!
  3. Robo Challenge (My particular favorite) is making its TechFair debut, the Robo Challenge is a live LEGO Robotics competition
  4. Resource Fair – Community organizations will be present to inform guests about a wide variety of resources in the Denver area


Saturday, April 26, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Bruce Randolph Middle School
located at 3955 Steele Street Denver, CO 80205.

Learn more about the Open World Learning program.

I wanted a simple way to play a WAV format file on my Raspberry Pi. Some basic searches didn’t seem to show me anything useful.  But after some searching I found this site which showed me that the solution is built in already.

Note: I’m using the basic Wheezy Raspbian image from the Raspberry Pi site.

Simply use:

aplay filename.wav

Works like a charm. True story.

RC Combat Robot – Fingertech Viper

Trossen Robotics is offering a great way to easily and cheaply build a combat robot. This really is an amazing deal that for under 200 bucks you can have a fully funtional RC robot with spare channels for your own weapons.  This ought to open up the field to a lot more combat robots.  I’m excited to see the next battle after these robots have been available for awhile!

Viper RC Combat Robot

From Trossen:

The Viper kit comes with everything you need to get started in combat robotics. The custom-formed aluminum chassis has plenty of strength and space for additional components and upgrades. A 6-Channel radio transmitter and receiver pair leaves four channels free to add any active weapons or devices you desire. 50:1 ratio gearmotors with 2″ Lite Flite wheels provide both speed and pushing power. Two FingerTech ‘tinyESC’ speed controllers translate the radio receiver commands into motor movement and provide 5V power to the radio. A sporty vacuum-formed lid keeps all the guts inside during a match. The Viper kit is fully intended to be sawed, drilled, modified, and upgraded. Its base weight is only 325grams (11.46oz) leaving 129grams (4.55oz) for additional parts if entering the Antweight (1lb) weight class, or 675g (23.81oz) free if entering the Kilobot (1kg) weight class. (Weighed with 2x 9V batteries.)

Difficulty: Unassembled version requires soldering of a dozen wires (to motors and switch, no circuit boards), plugging in connectors, and screwing wheels and lid in place (hex keys included). Recommended for ages 10+ (6+ with a parent).
“Unassembled” comes as parts. Everything is drilled and tapped for screws but needs to be soldered and connected (includes instructions).

More technical information and details can be found on their website here.

If you create a cool robot project with this kit, please considering adding your project details and a photo at our Robot Gallery.

Robotiq Has A New Robotic Hand

Robotiq is a new Canadian startup which came out of the Laval University Robotics Lab. The video above shows an amazing demonstration of the adaptability of this hand. Watch it pick up just about every weird shape imaginable without any problems.

Their first product is this amazing three-fingered robot hand called the “Adaptive Gripper.” It is comprised of three under-actuated fingers, two of which can change their position and orientation to support a variety of grasp configurations — very similar in principle to the Barrett Hand and Schunk SDH Hand. The mechanical linkages which this uses would offer additional robustness compared to cable-driven machine hands. It would also be cheaper to produce than fully-actuated armatures.

I doubt this will be in the consumer market anytime soon, the price will likely be high at first. Let’s hope some smart manufacturer can copy this into the mass-market, so the hobbyist can get their hands on it soon (pun intended).

Originally found via Hizook