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."




Albany High School


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.


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.