Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

Disney’s Beachbot is Neat

Monday, April 13th, 2015


Disney’s Beachbot, designed at ETH Zurich’s Autonomous Systems Lab, is a seemingly simple robot turtle that combs impressively large images into damp sand. They claim to want to make large scale images on the earth at the scale of the Nazca lines! Imagine what you could create with a RobotGeek Rover!

The RoboGames are back!

Friday, April 10th, 2015

RoboGames I build Robots

After a short break and a successful Kickstarter campaign, RoboGames, the world’s largest robotics competition, is back! Trossen Robotics participated in Mech Warfare at RoboGames multiple times, winning awards and inspiring the next generation of roboticists alongside friends in the robotics community. We’re glad to see them return. If you can’t make it out to the event in San Mateo, California, don’t worry. RoboGames will be producing professional, high quality video of the event to be released online, on DVD and Blu-Ray Disc, so you won’t miss out on the action!

Production value on the videos taken at this year’s event will be of higher quality, but here’s a bit of video from the 2012 Mech Warfare at RoboGames.

We will be at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

mini maker faire

We will be at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, Saturday, May 2, 2015. This will be our third time attending, and we’re pumped to show off all that we’ve been up to in the last year. We love inspiring people young and old to pursue an interest in robotics. It’s also pretty sweet that we were featured in a Meet the Maker post on front page of the Mini Maker Faire website. We hope to see you there!

It turns out that all this time dubstep was just angry robots

Friday, July 6th, 2012

R/C Steampunk Trike

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Not exactly a robot. Awesome nonetheless.

That is all.

Watch the video.

Stop reading this.

Now. I mean it.

B-Squares: Modular Solar-powered Electrics

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Simple modular development kits have been somewhat of a unicorn in the safari of hobby electronics offerings. Many have tried, but to date there have been no break away success story yet. B-Squares is a new contender in the running and they are adding solar power to the mix along with an Ipod dock and an attractive form factor.

Previously we had Buglabs take a shot at this genre of product and it appears that they are still around, but it is unclear how long they will stay with $699 to $1,500 (!!!) price tags. It is hard to imagine anyone who wants to tinker with blocks having that kind of cash to burn to do so.

Modular Robotics has their cute little cubelets which shrink everything down and add robotics into the mix with options for drive cubes and range sensing. Also, a far more reasonable price. These look like great educational kits for teachers that want to get young kids excited about engineering.

B-squares with roughly a $25 price tag per square right now hits a nice price point and are being very smart by leveraging arduino compatibility. (You can pre-order on kickstarter and help these become reality) These stand a good chance of being popular at places like

Lunchtime Viewing – Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I’m sure many readers have already run across this, but for those who haven’t, we thought it worth sharing. Being geeks during lunch we often find geeky stuff to watch. I personally checkout what the latest TED talks are, catch up on Jon Stewart, or cruise Reddit. Today I stumbled across the Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine documentary on Youtube. Feynman is famous for his ability to explain complex physics to the everyday person as well as infuse the subjects with fun and enthusiasm. I learned something today that I had always wondered; I had no idea that the bulk of plants came from pulling the atoms literally out of the air. I always wondered how it was that more of the dirt didn’t disappear every year when the leaves fell and were taken away. So now I don’t know whether to feel dumb or smarter 😛

Enjoy on your lunch break!

DARwin-OP Robot prefers Tecate?

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

With every new family member it starts with excitement and love. They bring joy and laughter into the home. There are cards and gifts and parties to celebrate. But then the reality begins to settle in and you discover that every personality has a dark side. Something deep and hidden in their past…

Darwin-OP Humanoid Research Robot

A Teacher and Some Robots Walk into a Bar…

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

We aren’t dead! We have just been very, very busy and very, very bad bloggers. We do have some great content coming soon however, we promise. Until then, here is a guest post from one of our awesome community members  (darkback2) who came to hang out with us for a few weeks. Che, a teacher in Washington state, is an active pro-hobby robot builder who participates in Mech Warfare and is known for shooting himself to entertain others. We were delighted that Che came to hang out with us and he was a huge help in moving some projects forward that we needed to get done. Expect some new products soon that we can all thank Che for helping make a reality before 2098.

Che  Visits Trossen Robotics

Che Visits Trossen Robotics

Teacher seeks real world experience and finds it at Trossen Robotics.

I am a high school science and robotics teacher.  A few months ago a friend of mine asserted that teachers couldn’t last two weeks in the real world.  I took that as a challenge and set out to prove him wrong.  I called, emailed, and wrote a number of robotics companies around the world.  Matt Trossen answered the call, offering me an internship at his Chicago-based robotics business.

As a result, I got to spend two weeks working at Trossen Robotics.  To be honest, I got to do the fun stuff while Matt Trossen, Andrew Alter, and Alex Ward were stuck doing the hard day-to-day stuff.  I quickly learned how hard it is for the Trossen team to get things done because of how much they have to multitask.  Every time they tried to work on a project, they were interrupted by phone calls, product orders, and the constant stream of people delivering parts, or picking up orders.

In addition to the normal intern duties, I got to do my favorite thing which is, of course, building robots.  During my two-week stay I built an army of robots including an Interbotix Hexapod, a Bioloid Premium, and a Bioloid GP, and shot product videos of each.

Most importantly, this was a wonderful experience that will have a profound effect on my classroom.  As a teacher, it is easy to get bogged down in the how and what of our curriculum.  I am always focusing on teaching the students how to do things and what they should know.  The most important thing I am taking away from this experience is that I need to focus much more on why.  Why things are done the way they are.  I am also much more keenly aware of how meticulous documentation is key to working collaboratively with others.  Because we recorded everything that we did through photographs, notes, and discussions, we were all on the same page and capable of addressing issues that arose as we went along.

The Trossen team made me feel more than welcome.  The hardest part was leaving at the end of my two-week stay.


We missed Che after he left too! We did consider locking him in… Thank you Che for all the awesome hard work you did during your visit!

Pet Laser Dazer

Monday, December 13th, 2010


Screwing with pets is fun. They are furry and cute but despite what your ex-girlfriend used to go on and on and on about, they really aren’t that smart.  Case in point is the laser game where any seemingly sane cat or dog can be sent into a frenzy over a quickly moving dot of light. Endless fun can be had watching their minds break as they hopelessly chase something they cannot physically grab. This is why humans rule the earth. We should stop showing our children movies where animals talk and are smart, because we are just setting them up for disappointment.

The pet Laser Dazer is a fun project that can be done with the Vision Tracking Starter Kit or the Desktop RoboTurret (need to pick up the laser separate.) The concept is simple, take the age old game of “catch the laser dot” and add robots to the mix! It even works with kids. Watch the end of the video to see Andrew’s daughter throw herself against the wall in excitement. See, robots ARE fun people.

Laser Dazer Demo App can be found here.