Maker Festival was held at the Toronto Reference Library on August 1 and 2 and Get Your Bot On! was there to take part in all the hacking, building and experimenting fun. We brought along Marley Gumball, our gum-dispensing robot, and asked kids to help us redesign it so that kids eat less candy.
Marley is programmed using Scratch and Scratch GPIO and uses a servo motor for the dispensing mechanism, which is under the hood. On the outside are a Raspberry Pi, a Makey Makey, and a range-finding sensor.
Despite the slight bummer factor (what kid could fully embrace the concept of less candy?), visitors to our booth tackled the challenge with enthusiasm and ingenuity. Some decided to build a deterrent into the design, such as Sylvie’s robotic mirror that shows the user’s teeth falling out when they look in it…
…or Caleb’s idea to dispense apples for free but charge a hefty fee for candy.
Another participant went a step further and imagined a robot that’s capable of reading your mind when you ask for gum, to see if you’re allowed to have it or not. It’s nice and polite when it denies you your treat, though.
By the end of the weekend, we had gathered a whole bunch of unique suggestions and hopefully inspired some young makers, too. We also had fun catching up with old friends, making new ones and seeing all the creative projects other organizations were sharing at the festival.
We will be posting our robot design here later this year so that kids can build it and send us their ideas, so check our blog for updates. And don’t forget to register for our 2015 Hackathon coming up on September 11-13, where participants of all ages will be not only designing but also building robots on the theme of “Healthy: People and Environments.”