2nd Annual Robot Petting Zoo Makeathon

The Challenge

During the 2015 Robot Petting Zoo, 10 robots delighted over 300 visitors at the Children's Creativity Museum. This year, we wanted to expand our reach and allow even more teen designers to exhibit their robotic creations. Our goal was to have 40 teens design, build and program 20 mechanical pets. Each interactive pet would be triggered to move, blink and make sounds when "fed" by children visiting the zoo.

Our Solution

To train 40 teens to be robot zookeepers, we broke the session into 2 parts. First, we recruited 20 teen interns for 5 consecutive weekends of skill building and professional development. We built their computer programming and mechanical design skills through a series of workshops, and we took the interns to the Bay Area Maker Faire so they could experience a large scale science exhibition for themselves. 

We then recruited 20 Robot Petting Zoo makeathon participants. These teens took part in a 16 hour intensive build session leading up to the public RPZ exhibition. Our interns, who had spent the past five weeks learning how to build robotic pets, helped us train this new set of teens. With the combined hard work of all 40 interns and participants, we reached our goal of creating 20 unique robotic pets that could interact with visitors.

Results

Over 500 visitors filled the TechHive to experience the Robot Petting Zoo, making it our most visited educational experience of the 2015- 2016 year. Click the images below to get a closer look at these amazing robot pets.

Owl. Designed by Brina & Isaiah

Owl. Designed by Brina & Isaiah

Unicorn. Designed by Katherine & Tiffany

Unicorn. Designed by Katherine & Tiffany

Platypus. Designed by Allison & Nathan

Platypus. Designed by Allison & Nathan

Bear. Designed by Jonathan & Nahum

Bear. Designed by Jonathan & Nahum

Giraffe. Designed by Jennifer & Spencer

Giraffe. Designed by Jennifer & Spencer

Crab. Designed by Arianna & Larissa

Crab. Designed by Arianna & Larissa

Panda. Designed by Luwam & Mia

Panda. Designed by Luwam & Mia

Elephant. Designed by Jacqueline & Kyle

Elephant. Designed by Jacqueline & Kyle

Cat. Designed by Margaux & Tom

Cat. Designed by Margaux & Tom

Armadillo. Designed by Brigitte & Chaya

Armadillo. Designed by Brigitte & Chaya

Penguin. Designed by Haley, Smurthi & Wiley

Penguin. Designed by Haley, Smurthi & Wiley

Trilo-Byte. Designed by David & Peter

Trilo-Byte. Designed by David & Peter

Duck. Designed by Nick & Ricardo

Duck. Designed by Nick & Ricardo

Dragon. Designed by Bansi & Simram

Dragon. Designed by Bansi & Simram

Giraffe. Designed by Connie, Dorothy & Kyra

Giraffe. Designed by Connie, Dorothy & Kyra

Goat. Designed by Bartell & Hari

Goat. Designed by Bartell & Hari

Picachu. Designed by Cameron

Picachu. Designed by Cameron

Lizard. Designed by Nathan & Sandro

Lizard. Designed by Nathan & Sandro

The World's Smallest Parade

The Challenge

Create a miniature parade of line following robots that can be easily customized by the Lawrence Hall of Science visitors.We wanted kids and their families to interact directly with robotics, and to explore linkages and motion transfer systems. Finally, we wanted visitors to have a fun way of displaying what they've learned to others.

Our Solution

During the Winter of 2016, the TechHive interns had 3 weeks to design a line following robot, 3 weeks to design a versatile linkages system, and 3 weeks to design the public experience. We wanted to provide this cohort of interns (many of whom had been with TechHive for more than 3 years) with a design challenge that would require them to apply everything they've learned over the years. This includes CAD, Arduino programming, cardboard prototyping, laser cut design, and user experience design.

Results

The World's Smallest Parade went onto the main floor of the Lawrence Hall of Science on March 12, 2016. It drew over 400 visitors who interacted with the tiny parade robots and learned about the technology behind this experience.

Explainer Bots

Explainer Bots at the Lawrence Hall of Science

Lawrence Hall of Science - Design Quest

The Challenge:

High School students had a 10-week session in which they were challenged to create animatronic bots that would be able to explain science concepts to visitors. The Bots had to be understandable and intriguing to visitors of all ages while talking about the exhibit where they were stationed. 

Our Solution

Each group of five used cardboard as a base to create an Explainer bot. The interns learned a variety of skills during the session, including programming in Scratch; CAD design; 3D printing; soldering; small electronics; and the user-centered design process. Each group was challenged to create a robot with a unique look and personality. They programmed the robot to make different expressions, then wrote and recorded a script that described one of the Design Quest exhibits.

Results

The intern's robots went live on the floor of the Lawrence Hall of Science on the 19th of December, 2015. The Explainer Bot unveiling drew 300+ visitors, who could learn from the bots and interact with their designers.

1st Annual Robot Petting Zoo Makeathon

TechHive organized the first Robot Petting Zoo Makethon, which ran May 30-31, 2015 at the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco. With the support from funds raised through an Indiegogo campaign, 20 high schoolers from around the Bay Area teamed up and spent two days creating and programming a robotic pet, which they showcased to the public during a "Robot Petting Zoo" event.

Day 1 - Makeathon begins!

Students were led by TechHive interns and mentors in beginner-friendly programming and engineering workshops that would help prepare for the weekend's makeathon. Students learned how to use the Scratch programming language to operate a Hummingbird Duo microcontroller. The Hummingbird would essentially serve as the "brain" of the robotic pet. Using craft materials such as cardboard and construction paper, robots began to take form as students meticulously went to work.

 

Day 2 - Petting Zoo opens!

The Robot Petting Zoo opened midday Sunday, where visitors at the Museum and general public were invited to interact with the pets and Makeathon participants. Visitors had the opportunity to "feed" the robot pets, and voted for their favorite pets.

Check out some of the finished projects below!

Mole-a-Whack @ Maker Faire

The TechHive designed, built, and operated the Lawrence Hall of Science booth at Maker Faire 2015.

Winner of 4 Editor's Choice Awards and 3 Best-in-Class Awards!

Build, Test, Play!

Visitors first built their button, then they tested their buttons on our testing stations, which were built by our TechHive interns. Once they knew their button worked, they played Mole-a-Whack!

Powered by Scratch and Arduino!

The scoreboard for Mole-a-Whack was programmed in Scratch. The scoreboard kept track of scores for each individual player and for the team. This program also paced the experience and provided all sound effects. Check out the scratch program here.

 

 

The electronics were powered by the Arduino Leonardo, which sent keyboard strokes to the Scratch Program. Early prototypes of Mole-a-Whack were powered by the MaKey MaKey.

 

Co-designed by our teen interns

Featured on the Make Magazine Blog too!

Check out the article here.

Town of Terror at Albany High

The Town of Terror was a Halloween festival at Albany High School, designed by the TechHive in collaboration with the Albany High School and Berkeley Engineers and Mentors, a hands-on engineering after school program. It's main attraction was a haunted house called "Escape from Dr. Ella Mental's Laboratory."

WEBSITE: 

http://www.townofterror.com/

CLIENT:

Albany High School

THE CHALLENGE:

Albany High School sought an alternative to their annual homecoming dance, which had been poorly attended in previous years. They wanted a fun and inclusive experience that would attract more students and would raise more money for the school. Typical school events raise about $300 to $500.

Our Solution:

TechHive designed, fabricated, and built a haunted house called “Escape from Dr. Ella Mental’s Lab” and organized a festival called the “Town of Terror” in collaboration with the Berkeley Engineers and Mentors (BEAM), Albany High School leadership team, and adult volunteers from the East Bay. AJ Almaguer, the lead designer, won a Bay Area Inspire Awards to help fund the project.

The project planning began in May 2014 and was completed in 5 months time. The haunted house included a “waiting room” with hands-on science training, a dark hallway with Arduino-enabled flying bats, LED lanterns, and a constructed laboratory exhibit with machines called‚ “Elixir Mixers” with user interfaces that were coded in Scratch. The project involved all aspects of public speaking, coding, writing, wiring electronics, carpentry, engineering design, assembly, and construction for the teens involved in delivering the project.

Results:

Approximately 800 people visited the Town of Terror, which raised $3500 for Albany High School. In addition, 100+ Albany High School students, 30 TechHive high school interns, and 30 UC Berkeley students also volunteered at the event, sharing their enthusiasm and ensuring its success and demonstrating the power of the community. The teen volunteers noted that this experience gave them a lot of valuable experience in project management.

CS Playground Camp

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Student & Family Programs

The Challenge:

The Education department was interested in creating new technology-rich offering into its summer camp catalog to meet the demands of parent customers. TechHive was faced with turning many early ideas into a 2-week fun summer camp enrichment for kids ages 10-13.

Our Solution:

The curriculum was divided into two parts - code it and build it. During the build it section, the kids use basic craft materials like cardboard and aluminum foil to create the mechanics of a carnival game. In the code it section,  kids focused on Scratch and programming user feedback. Kids progressively developed skills through specific building projects in the first week. Using these skills, kids then designed their own unique game in the following week. The camp ended with a camper-run midway on the museum floor. After receiving coaching, the campers gave presentations of their games to parents and museum visitors, followed by a celebration of playing all the carnival games together.

Results:

Campers not only gained a solid understanding, practice, and experience of basic programming, but also learned how to build and do cardboard prototyping. Many of the campers remained active in the online Scratch community.

Happy Hollow - MP3 Magic

Client:

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

The Challenge:

Happy Hollow, located in San Jose, California wanted to add an interactive element to their Danny the Dragon train ride. The solution needed to be low-cost, easy to maintain, and durable enough to handle all weather conditions.

Our Solution:

Patrick Huston, a high school TechHive intern took on the lead to design "MP3 Magic” using off-the-shelf components including an Arduino with an MP3 shield. When the train triggers the IR sensor, it plays one of three pre-recorded audio tracks. The entire unit is housed in a weather-proof case

Results:

The “MP3 Magic” has been part of the Danny the Dragon train ride since September of 2014. This system provides a versatile and low-cost solution to Happy Hollow's challenge. The “MP3 Magic” could be easily customized and replicated to provide sounds to a variety of attractions.

Letter of Recognition from Happy Hollow:

 


TechHive Entry Sign

Client:

TechHive

The Challenge:

TechHive Interns were given a challenge of making a low-cost portable sign for the TechHive studio that could help raise the visibility of the space.

Our Solution:

Using LEDs, soldering, circuit planning, and cardboard, TechHive staff engaged teens creating the TechHive sign, powered by Arduino. Large letters in a Chicago-style Marquee lettering flash in different sequences.

Results:

The portable sign proudly hangs in the TechHive studio and lights up the space when the TechHive is hosting special public events, classes, and drop-in programs. 

The techniques used in making the sign were also turned into paid visitor workshops that teach soldering, introductory circuitry, and cardboard prototyping. TechHive interns help run the workshops based on their learned experiences making the sign.

Insect Photo Booth

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Public Science Center

The Challenge:

The public science center wanted a photo booth experience for their "Open Make Debug" public program to complemented the traveling exhibition Xtreme Bugs.

Our Solution:

The TechHive staff and teens created an "Insect-Only Photo Booth," inspired by entomology collections found in natural history museums. This educational photo booth taught visitors the anatomical difference between insects and bugs by having them compose then pose as an insect on display. 

Teens created English and Spanish labels using Adobe Illustrator, then printed them for gluing onto cardboard for easier handling by visitors. They tested adjustable brackets for the abdomen and thorax to enable positioning relative to the size of the visitor.

Results:

Teens interns gained print production experience and user testing skills by making iterative design improvements,  as well as learned how to support visitor learning during the event. The Lawrence Hall of Science used the photos for social media to drive traffic to their website and to help deepen visitors' experiences.

LED Sign Workshop

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Student & Family Programs

The Challenge:

The Student & Family Programs Department wanted to attract more teens and families to enroll in paid classes and workshops, and offer more experiences that used modern Maker technologies.

Our Solution:

The TechHive created a series of TechTorials - 2-hour hands-on workshops using Maker technologies for older kids and families. The first was a 2-hour LEDer Sign TechTorial where visitors soldered LEDs, wires, resistors and a power source to create their own light up letter to take home and share.

Results:

The families were inspired to wire their own electronics project because they learned a fundamental maker skill: soldering. Visitors were exposed to basic electrical concepts like series and parallel circuits. All projects contained both types of circuits.

Member Games - Bug Run

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Member Services

The Challenge:

The TechHive was asked to host an event for the First Annual Member Games, a special public program at exclusive to members of the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Our Solution:

We created a two-player game built using cardboard components and Scratch programming. In order to complete the “Bug Run,” teams of two would have to work together to navigate a digital insect through a winding racetrack. The best times were recorded on the leaderboard.

Results:

The Bug Run was a highlight of the Member Games and TechHive was invited back as designers and facilitators of future Member Game events! Our exit poll indicated that participants enjoyed the game and liked interacting with TechHive teens. The Member Games proved that simple open tools like Scratch and cardboard could be combined to create engaging user experiences.

Bugs Exhibit Commercial - KQED cut and online cut

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science Marketing Dept.

The Challenge:

The science center needed a media piece to promote its upcoming temporary traveling exhibition called "Xtreme Bugs."

Our Solution:

Coached by a media producer from the Hall, teens applied their video editing skills and artistic eyes to create an edit/cut list. TechHive interns also helped to edit a commercial.

Results:

The 2-minute clip was shown on KQED and broadcast on cable stations including Comcast. Teens took pride in seeing their work shown on TV.

Cardboard Pacman Console

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Ingenuity Program

The Challenge:

We were tasked to make an exhibit for the Open Make: Toys and Games public program at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Our other challenge was to give the TechHive teen interns hands-on fabrication experience with basic cutting tools as this was one of the first projects completed in the TechHive.

Our Solution:

We made a 3D Model of a console in SketchUp and then created cut templates to fabricate the model out of cardboard using 123D Make. The templates were scaled to life-size using a projector and all of the parts were hand cut by the TechHive staff and teen interns.
 
While the console was made out of cardboard, the screen was a recycled computer monitor, which was powered by an old laptop from behind. The control board was a powered by a MaKey MaKey connected to the laptop and it was designed by teen intern Alex.

Results:

This exhibit piqued the interest of the visitors and it gave us an entry point to talk to kids about conductivity, circuitry, and programming. This project was also featured on the company Tumblr's home page for a few days!


Lunar Xprize Event

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Public Science Center

The Challenge:

The Public Science Center wanted a public program to coincide the release of their new planetarium show from Google Lunar Xprize. The public program would be showcasing the new planetarium show and the Moonbots-In-A-Box kit.

Our Solution:

We created a public program called Moon Missions, which challenged visitors to collect stamps at the five stations throughout the museum floor, including the Moonbots-In-A-Box challenge. We also created a new exhibit prototype called "Robot Basic Training" which allowed for three visitors at a time to learn to drive the moonbots by playing a multiplayer game.

Results:

Leading up to the event over consecutive weekends, TechHive interns learned teamwork, how to test prototypes with visitors, made robot mazes, and wrote and debug computer programs. The culminating event was featured on NBC news. The stamp-passport is now a practice used in other public programs.

Bay Area Science Festival Booth - AT&T Park

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Public Science Center

The Challenge:

The science center desired a strong presence at the Bay Area Science Festival in two locations: with its sponsor Chevron, and with the UC Berkeley's science outreach group to promote the center's programs and services to the community.

Our Solution:

Two experiences were orchestrated and facilitated with coordination across multiple departments: one inquiry-based science activity involved handheld microscopes and Ingenuity Lab-based marble run challenges. We rallied and organized volunteer sign-up and logistics and creates a social media campaign for the institution.

Results:

Teens received coaching towards stronger facilitation of STEM activities. Booths were very active at all times. On average, visitors stayed at the booth for 20 minutes. The venue enabled us to gather images and video to fuel future social media campaigns.

Math on a Sphere

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Center for Technology Innovation

The Challenge:

Math on a Sphere project needed to test the coding platform in a public programs format to be used for museums. An open question was whether museum visitors could be engaged in learning how to code and learn some 3D geometry.

Our Solution:

A program called "Haunted Math" was created to coincide with the Halloween season. A giant spherical projection surfaced (Science on a Sphere) was used to share different designs that visitors could create. Visitors made different kinds of ghouls, cats, and pumpkins by coding on laptops, while other visitors drew onto projections of their faces onto orange balloons.

Results:

Visitors celebrated the afternoon at the science center designing digital and physical objects while learning math, coding, and 3D geometry. Families with kids as young as 6-years old enjoyed seeing their 3D geometric designs projected onto a large spherical sphere while a "DJ" announced each design to share it.

Lighthouse Video

Client:

Lighthouse Community Charter School

The Challenge:

Lighthouse Community Charter School wanted to share the great work that their students were doing both at school and in the community, but didn't have the time or resources to produce a video.

Our Solution:

TechHive media producers composed, shot on site, and edited a video piece for peers at Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland. 

Results:

Clients used the video not only for marketing purposes, but also for education and inspiration to show what teens are capable of editing given some training and voice in the video making. Lighthouse Community Charter School teens also apply to the TechHive program to learn script writing and video production skills.

Fall Appeal Video

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science Marketing Dept.

The Challenge:

The science center requested a short video to be part of the Fall Appeal fundraising campaign to showcase the impact that its STEM programs have on learners in the Bay Area.

Our Solution:

We produced a short video which featured two people – a current educator at the Hall, who started her education career as a teen intern, and a TechHive teen intern.

Results:

The video was embedded in the email campaign and on the Lawrence Hall of Science website. More importantly, the TechHive teen interns gained experience in producing and editing a professional video for a client.

Shoes of a Scientist Video

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science Marketing Department

The Challenge:

The Hall's marketing department wanted to add a media component to its annual holiday card.

Our Solution:

The TechHive worked closely with the Marketing team to plan, produce, and edit this short, which was published to the Hall's YouTube page and was linked to in the 2013 Holiday Card.

Results:

This video served as an internal unifying campaign, as it featured Hall staff from many of the departments. Shoes of a Scientist also became a unifying pitch for the collective work at the Hall.