Gaming With Robots
A Tool for Learning for All Ages and Skill Levels
Sam is a chemist and educator with a PhD. In chemistry from the City University of New York. He currently works as a researcher and adjunct professor at CUNY, and he’s happy to manage a fleet of scientific instrumentation in his core facility that he uses to conduct his research and educate students.
Sam enjoys building and working with computers, both for gaming and for productivity. He has a strong interest in embedded systems like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, as well as robotics and home automation. He recently got into 3D printing and has been learning the ins and outs of basic printing for fun and profit.
At TAGNW Sam is dedicated to developing robotics projects that can help people of any level gain an interest and better understanding of robots and technology.
Diving into the world of robotics and open-source hardware and software can be daunting but having a fun and clearly defined project to work on can help motivate and provide a scaffold for learning. My own journey started with the desire to combine two of my hobbies: board games and technology. Adapting a favorite board game to be played with actual robots touched on all aspects of development from hardware and PCB design, to front-end web development, to embedded system programming.
I will share my own experience with this process, but also how this project can be, and has been, used as an effective tool to entice kids and adults into learning programming and robotics, mostly using inexpensive open-source tools. By providing some constraints as guides, and the dangling carrot of a fun game, people are more inclined to put in the work to learn than if they're only using the abstract goal of "learning to program". The colorful and fun nature of the game is immediately apparent and grabs the interest, and from there it’s easy to get people interested in not only playing the game but understanding how it all works.
The flexible nature of the project when it comes to robot design also allows for creativity and innovation while also not being so open-ended as to be overwhelming. By structuring the project to allow for people to dive into the technology as deeply, or as shallowly, as they are comfortable doing, the project can be accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. Further, as they learn and become more knowledgeable, they can push further into the development hardware and software, providing a natural progression to their learning.
This project, and ones like it, can be an invaluable tool for enticing them to people to learn about robotics and software development, especially kids and others who might be intimidated by the prospect.
- 2022 April 24 - 15:00
- 45 min
- LinuxFest Northwest 22
- Open Hardware