Let's Make Robots!

An inspirational look at "Starting your own Robotics Group!!!"

After chatting on here with a new robot builder it got me to thinking....

LMR is world wide, and its members are everywhere. But some members live in areas where there isn't a robotics community. So even though you can always get help from this group. It doesn't replace what you get from actually sitting down with someone to figure out a problem your having. In my case I joined a robotics group that was local to me well over 10 years ago. At that time I didn't have any interest in robotics. I just wanted to find my own career path. Over time I learned a lot skills from different engineering fields from the exposure I got while being a part of that group. It even was the driving force behind me choosing the college engineering degrees that I have today.

So in the concept spirit of education and helping out others, I'm making the suggestion that you could also start your own robotics group. Think about it. Make has people starting "Maker Groups" all around the world right now. If you don't like Make, then start your own group. All it takes is getting the word out. Pick a meeting place, a library, a restaurant, church, etc. Keep a regular meeting schedule and invite people and groups from around your area. Invite local people from LMR. Before long your group will begin to develop a following.

You could even take this a step further and ask Frits about starting an official "LMR" sub chapter group. (Yes its a great idea!)

Me, I started my own group through a local high school with the help of my relative known on here as user winfieldrobotics. The school thought it was a great idea because they can use it to teach real world engineering, etc. Plus they get more positive support from the community. As a result I've seen kids who would have dropped out of school and had been a burden on the community take an interest in building robots. I've seen how this can change lives and create goals. Now just imagine if a few of you guys did the same thing. We could literally make the world a little better one robot at a time.

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Its funny that you posted this because I was recently thinking of creating my own highschool robotics club. So any suggestions for a fellow lmr member. What makes a successfull robotcis group? Do you advice on doing the First robotics program?


Here's how we started our HS group:

We talked with the school and a certain teacher sponsor. We made the deal that they would provide the safe place for the kids, and we would provide the robot games and help them with fund raising, mentoring, etc for the group. This basic frame work got us in the door. Over time, the groups participation has grown to the point where we now have to limit entry.

We use Lego NXT kits for all our events, but they do have a few custom robots.

Also note our school does not do any formally known robotics comps like First. We make all our own games because its cheaper for the school, and we can tie our robot games into their curriculum, and move the event dates around to meet the schools schedule.

Another rule we play by is when I take pictures and video the robotics comps, for obvious reasons there can not be any kids in the video's. This rule seems obvious, but its something to remember. They use the pictures for the year book, and we post the video's on their webpage to share their accomplishments with parents, educators, etc.

On the robot games topic. We make our games with very open rules. This promotes creativity by allowing numerous ways to accomplish the task. For example our last game was Nascar. Its where you take 2 robots sized 12" cubed and race them around a tri oval shaped wall. (think of Frits wall racers only made from Lego's) Since there are 2 robots racing against each other at the same time, you get some fender rubbing. Most of the entries used the obvious sonar sensor to wall follow. But our event winner used a IR line sensor to see shadows which caused the robot to turn the corners. They took the most penalty's, but completely ran away from all competitors to win. It was a cool creative solution and they made it work for the event win.

Lastly after a few years of having this group. We got a local non for profit to sponsor our group and every year they provide prizes to our kids based on their competition performance. Last year the kids that won the most games all got free Arduino's, and the others got college spec calculators.

This idea sounds good to me too. I totally agree it's different with people actually sitting all together to help each other out but it's hard to gather robotic hobbist together in a small town.

using face book and YouTube for announcements and video . i could start a local robot page on face book few pic's and links take 10 min's a day to keep things rolling, network with larger clubs to get members , with a view to having events (sumo comp:)  if i can stick 12 bands in a video arcade i can find somewhere for 30 robots ied be happy with 10 and 5 sumo's . if i could fill an hour with show and tell and sumo events it would be awesome ,do the show in a shopping center  3 times over a weak ,,,, no mater what happen as long as you promoted the local Robot community (the face book page LMR and all other good robot info)  that you/i  start the next event would be somewhat lager i would hope .got to make it look simple something everyone can do

i would expect the time line would be 12months to get a few members get everyone up to speed make a few bot's 12 to 24months  have some club events BBQ with some show and tell announce a public event to grow the club and repeat

just some of my first ideas ! :)