The Gigabots Go to School

On Monday, July 21st, The Gigabots made a small trip to North Kansas City to visit the First Robotics team at Staley High School. The group of twenty five students—from freshmen to seniors—first had the opportunity to play with with our bots, Prime and Hans, using tablets. Camilla, however, had been disassembled since her trip to New York. The students separated into a few groups, divided up tasks, and quickly rebuilt her.

Introducing Staley High School First Robotics to The Gigabots

Students Learning about The Gigabots

After successful bot reconstruction, Jonathan presented a Super Awesome Guide to Programming to the students, in order to teach some basic principles to the majority of the students who had little to no coding experience. He also covered some basics of the JavaScript language, which lead the way directly into programming the Gigabots.

Within minutes, the students, having learned some basic JavaScript, were able to program the connected Gigabots remotely by using the console-based text editor of our Gigabots Dashboard. They started with simple API calls to make the bots beep, buzz, and even sing “Bicycle Built for Two” (the first song ever sung by a computer, in 1961), which quickly became a bit too popular…Other commands moved the bot motors in a similar manner, all remotely and in realtime.

Students then learned how to implement the touch sensor into programming robot behaviors. When the touch sensor button was pressed on the specified bot, for example, the bot would beep, or it would sing, or certain motors would move. They were able to easily create any combinations of responses they could think of and then test them out.

Programming The Gigabots

Programming The Gigabots Remotely in Realtime

Special thanks to the Staley High School Engineering department and engineering teacher Aaron Dalton for helping to arrange this pilot as well as the students of the Staley First Robotics team for joining us!


The Gigabots Hack Their Way Into Maker Faire

On Saturday June 28 and Sunday June 29, The Gigabots set up shop at Union Station for the fourth annual Maker Faire KC. Two tablets and a few computers were laid out to control the three robots we brought. On the floor were several Lego baseplates and handfuls of Lego bricks.

Some children who visited our booth occupied themselves simply by building with the Lego bricks. The more ambitious ones would maneuver our unique crane-inspired forklift, Hans, about while trying to lift and carry their Lego creations. Many also enjoyed driving around and attempting to grab objects with our four-wheeled, claw-bearing robot, Camilla. Occasionally, battle ensued between these two robots when commandeered by a pair of competitive children. Whether they realized it or not, with each click of the trackpad or tablet on our Gigabots Dashboard, these children were communicating with robots in realtime over the Internet.

The Gigabots Engage Visitors and Let Them Take Control

The Gigabots Engage Visitors and Let Them Take Control

 Gigabot Prime attracted many visitors to our booth. Children adored him, but other visitors were intrigued by the ability to control him over the Internet from a webpage. While enjoying all of the attention, he exhibited his little dance whenever his touch-sensor button was pressed. We were able to then demonstrate bot-to-bot communication by pressing a touch-sensor button on either of our other two bots and letting visitors witness as Gigabot Prime threw his small tantrums.

The Ironmen Approve of The Gigabots

The Ironmen Approve of The Gigabots

We spoke with and engaged a total of over five hundred attendees over the course of the two-day event. Despite having to overcome slow Internet connections and a desperate shortage of batteries, The Gigabots were honored with the Maker of Merit ribbon for having demonstrated “great creativity, ingenuity and innovation.”

Maker of Merit

The Gigabots Win a Maker of Merit Ribbon

The Gigabots Prepare for Upcoming Presentations

In the past two weeks, the dashboard has grown more powerful than ever before.  Its console-based text editor can now make use of the Gigabots API, meaning you can control the Gigabots with simple commands, for a start. More importantly, you can even program larger routines by using multiples of these commands together. In addition, the dashboard’s control panel is more flexible and runs more efficiently.

It’s fun controlling a robot from your phone or computer, but what about when you want to tune into another bot? You can now select a different Gigabot from a drop-down list of bots currently running. Your dashboard instantly updates to the dashboard seen by other users controlling this same bot, and you’ll start receiving its telemetry now instead.

The Gigabots have flown to Silicon Valley this week for the US Ignite Application Summit. We’ll be presenting on Thursday at 11:15 am on the main stage as part of the morning session, ‘Advanced Wireless: Untethering Your Gig.’

US Ignite App Summit

If you’re not in Silicon Valley, you can check out The Gigabots at the fourth annual Kansas City Maker Faire at Union Station this weekend. Come visit us there, at the Mozilla booth, between 10am and 6pm on Saturday, June 28 or between 10am and 5pm on Sunday, June 29.

Kansas City Maker Faire

We’re building two new robots this week, so that Gigabot Prime, our flagship bot, has some more friends to play with. We’re also preparing some demos, so our Gigabots all have things to do, albeit play and work, which they equally enjoy.