Weaver at Robotronica 2013
INCUBATE 12 startup, Weaver, was recently invited by The Cube to participate in Robotronica 2013 at Queensland University of Technology to celebrate an international robotic day in one of the world’s largest digital interactive learning and display spaces.
Robtronica, organised by The Cube, invited families, children, and robotic enthusiasts to a one-day robot spectacular which featured robots from around the world providing a jaw-dropping vision of the future. The event hosted the likes of Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and his humanoid clone, Geminoid HI-4 from Japan, as well as hands-on workshops, talks, demonstrations, debates, films and music that energised the attendants that were avid supporters of robotics and their potential impact around the world.
Weaver is the social robot designed to engage children in computer science, technology and robotics. With an array of sensors and a user-friendly interface any child can engage Weaver to complete a string of challenging and entertaining activities that foster creativity and logical thinking.
Fernando Vega, Weaver’s founder, designer and an international student at the University of Sydney describes the robot, “Weaver is a blank canvas that children are able to customize and program to weave their very own ideas. By using intuitive gestures Weaver can be controlled in conjunction with either its drag-and-drop programming interface or via the simple Python programming language.” Fernando continues, “On top of this Weaver’s minimalistic shape allows children to create their own creative ‘shells’ and add-ons as a complement of their revolutionary robotic idea.”
During Robotronica, the Weaver team conducted two workshops and featured in a public demonstration with more than two-hundred participants.
In the workshops, children worked in pairs to program their Weaver robot, explore its many functions and develop robotic solutions for scientific challenges.
In the first workshop category; ages 4-7, children accompanied by their parents, brainstormed about the definition of a robot and their different benefits. Then, by using as analogy the human body, the children were able to understand the different parts of the weaver robot and immersed themselves in the topic by asking all sort of questions about robotics. Subsequently, they children learnt how to use the weaver robot, its connectivity and control interface features.
The children in the workshop were amazed by the way they were able to program and control the weaver robots. They were also challenged to create their own creative shells, by customising their robots with common materials; such as coloured cardboard, plasticine and tape.
In the second workshop older children; ages 8-12, had to play a soccer match with the weaver robots. As in every soccer team, uniforms were created, green team vs. red team, and and the children were encouraged to create cardboard add-ons that would give them an advantage during the match.
The workshops were considered extremely successful and the feedback from conference attendees was overwhelmingly positive. Their was lots of interest on weaver’s eventual launch.
Weaver is now looking towards a Kickstarter campaign. Special thanks to Bozena Pieniazek, Chloe Sheahan, and Fernando Vega ran the workshops and demonstrations during the Robotronica event.