Creative robotics rules at City Library
‘‘You know, it’d be easier if we just stopped thinking about it.’’
The advice from 14-year-old Sam Seerden is to his three team-mates as they puzzle over how to build a kitset Lego robot.
Sam is one of 20 intermediate, and year-9 kids participating in the Lego NXT Robot design and build series that got underway last week at City Library.
Divided into five teams, the 12 boys and eight girls had been set a task of constructing from a photograph, the Lego Mindstorm robot. The 50 or so components include such goodies as an ultrasonic sensor, sound, touch and light sensors, three servo motors, a rechargeable battery and something called an intelligent brick, which is the computerised controller.
Library supervisor Ruthie Bowler says when the kits arrived, she couldn’t find the instructions but managed to make up a working robot based solely on the photograph. She says the same plan-free challenge was offered to the youngsters, with the option of instructions if things proved too difficult.
Once the robots are constructed and moving, they will be given a series of increasingly difficult objectives to meet using drag’n drop programming.
City Library’s Sean Monaghan says the three Thursday morning two-hour sessions aimed at ages 10-15, are a first, and were oversubscribed.
‘‘It’s great to see them all so engaged and co-operating. Most of these kids have never met before, and it’s kinda cool that some of the groups aren’t using the instructions.’’
He says the library would like to make this kind of workshop a regular thing.
‘‘We want to refine it, organise it and run it with some tweaks,’’ Sean says
Self-confessed ‘‘Lego lover’’ Charlie Mollard, 12, from St Peter’s College felt he had to be part of the sessions.
‘‘I love [Lego] so much, I thought I’d come and learn some more about it here.’’
Team-mate Ari Lewis-Clarke from Central Normal School says he decided he liked engineering after watching the movie Iron Man.
Peter Also, 12, was looking forward to building fighting robots to ‘‘crush other people’s robots’’.
Not simply content with making a functioning ’bot, team members also spent time decorating their creations. The library’s Remy Irvine says the whole exercise, from creation to embellishment, reinforces why contemporary tech is such a creative process.
Ari Lewis-Clarke, 10 adds a decorative touch to the robot he and his team have constructed at City Library last week.