After getting home late on Friday from the Cloud Accelerator in Prague, on Saturday morning we celebrated my son’s 9th birthday (how time flies) with a party for his classmates at Robosphere in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the heart of the Swiss watch-making industry. A fun fact: this town has also had a major impact on both architecture and the automotive industry, being the birthplace of Le Corbusier and Louis Chevrolet. Robosphere is a local organisation dedicated to increasing awareness of robotics and related fields.
They have a couple of options for birthday parties: we opted for the “Primo” package – the “Aero” package involved drone piloting, to which our family clearly isn’t genetically pre-disposed – which included fooling around on Segways and building a noise-sensing bot with LEGO Mindstorms. And wrapped up with the kids each getting something from the RoboSnack, an industrial robot that can serve up lollipops or (and this is too cool) make cotton candy (which we call candy floss, back in the UK).
I mean, how about this for a great use of industrial automation?
I got chatting with members of the Robosphere association, after the party, and it soon become clear that this is something I want to get involved in. They’re all about increasing STEM education in the local community – which already has a rich heritage in these areas, but really needs it to continue.
And they happen to have a Kuka industrial robot gathering dust, as they seem to have a lack of people interested in programming it. This sounds like serious fun.
I just need to come up with an interesting project. My wife suggested a raclette bot: I think this would be brilliant, but without a thermal imaging sensor and some fairly complicated logic I can see it going the way of Doc Brown’s automatic dog food dispenser. Only with a major, local heat source. Yikes.
Any other suggestions? (Looks like brick-laying has already been done, in case. ;-)