What it feels like to ... BUILD A ROBOT
ROBOTS are becoming more prominent in everyday life. In the short term they won’t take over the world, but they can make it a better place.
Robotics and electronics can be used to help other people, whether it’s a robot that cleans up the environment, assistive robots which help the less mobile or ones that provide companionship to the lonely. It’s such a fast-moving field and I’m always looking at ways to create robots and engage young minds in the process.
I’ve always been technical and loved computing science at school. Heriot-Watt University was offering a degree in robotics which caught my eye. Whenever there was an opportunity
to create, I was always involved in the process. I worked towards a PhD at Edinburgh University where my ideas were nurtured and I was encouraged to enrol in a scholarship.
The robots I created were able to walk with more flexibility, unlike most robots which are designed to walk as rigidly as possible. This was to ensure my robot walked more like a person with the ability to adapt to slight imperfections in terrain without falling over. I wanted to inspire my young nieces and nephews with my love for robotics and teach them how to code. I liked the idea of being able to give them a little robot of their own that they could interact with.
However, I wanted my robot to be unique, so I started to consider ways of creating a more manufacturable robot that children would like.
Marty is a programmable robot I’ve been working on for four years and I’m continuously looking at ways to develop him. He can walk, dance, play football and avoid obstacles, which makes him the perfect toy for children, educators and creators. He has a real expression and personality, yet he still looks like a robot. The process took a lot of time and perseverance but it was worth it watching my idea come to life.
Robotical is the company I founded to commercialise Marty. I work in schools and educational companies to inspire more young people to create and get involved in robotics. There are lots