The cornerstone of the RoboSlam philosophy is to create a recipe that’s easy for others to reproduce. Our primary objective is to make it easier for straightforward and inexpensive to organising technical workshops in their own community. Before running a RoboSlam workshop, it’s important that the facilitator(s) are comfortable with the robot-building process, so that they can help fix problems with their participants’ robots. The best way for new facilitators to get familiar with the RoboSlam process is to build their own robots. When you’re building your first robot it really helps to have someone on hand who has built it before, so we sometimes invite future facilitators into Kevin St to build a robot with Damon or myself on hand for support.
Damon and I spent most of yesterday working in the project-based learning laboratory in DIT Kevin St, where several groups of undergrads were developing robots for the upcoming Irish national intervarsity RoboSumo tournament. There was exciting stuff going on with the RoboSumo robots (check out the speed of this robot!), but we were also fortunate to have a visit from Nicola Cosgrove who was building her first RoboSlam robot. Nicola is in her final year of the B.Sc. in Music, Media and Performance Technology in University of Limerick. She had previously built musical instruments using an Arduino, so she took to the RoboSlam build like a duck to water.
Nicola is planning to organise a RoboSlam workshop for undergrads in Limerick. Damon and I began developing RoboSlam as a purely extra-curricular activity, but we received such terrific support from our school management, and so many of our colleagues generously donated their time to act as workshop facilitators, that it found its way into the curriculum of several of our programmes as a short first-year project. RoboSlam has been a big hit with all the DIT students who’ve done it, so we’re really excited about the possibility of undergrads in other Irish universities getting a chance to try it.