WaterColorBot Kickstarter Update #1

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Our sincere gratitude goes out to all of our Kickstarter backers and everyone who has helped to spread the word about our WaterColorBot Kickstarter campaign. It has been incredibly rewarding to see each new pledge come in, from friends both old and new. We’re thrilled to announce that we exceeded our funding threshold of $50,000 after just over 60 hours: WaterColorBots are coming!

Today we recorded a little video that you can see on our update page of the WaterColorBot saying (well, painting) “Thank You.” One of the questions we have heard a few times (and have added to our FAQ) has been, “Can the robot go get more paint when it runs dry?” The answer is yes, as you can see in the video.

So is it all in the can and ready to ship? No, not quite yet. You may notice one goof in the video: an unnecessary color change. We’re still sanding away at the rough edges, in order to make sure that everything is ship-shape before we ship.

Thanks for all of the great questions and comments. We’ve already started adding to the FAQ based on your feedback, and we’ll continue to do so as the fantastic questions keep coming in. We’ve already got some excellent suggestions for future software directions, and changes and additions to the API. Getting real feedback from all of you about the different ways that you hope to use the WaterColorBot is immensely helpful in guiding us forward.

We’ve seen the project posted all over the internet, including on AdafruitBoing BoingEngadgetTech CrunchGizmodo Germany, and even as far away as Indonesia at Jeruknipis. Many of you have posted it to Twitter and Facebook, and we’re grateful for all of your support.

We had planned to post an update after a couple of days, but we didn’t imagine that we would get to post about surpassing our threshold so soon! We’ll be posting more updates in the near future. There are a lot of interesting details about the WaterColorBot that we haven’t yet written about and are looking forward to sharing with you.

Introducing The WaterColorBot

Today we’re thrilled to be launching our newest kit: the WaterColorBot.

The WaterColorBot is a brand-new project from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and Super Awesome Sylvia — a friendly art robot that moves a paint brush to paint your digital artwork onto paper, using a set of watercolor paints.

We’ve previously written about how we got started on this project (in a guest post by Sylvia), and about Sylvia’s visit to the White House Science Fair, where she was able to give President Obama a personal demonstration of the WaterColorBot.

And now, you can get one too!  We’re launching the WaterColorBot today on Kickstarter, and we’d like to ask for your support in getting it out there.  The WaterColorBot is an enormously powerful tool for helping to get young people interested in technology:

Beyond simple fun, we think that the WaterColorBot has enormous potential for STEM and STEAM education, especially as a way to get young people engaged with hands-on technology and robotics. We are particularly interested finding ways to inspire young women to pursue careers in science and technology. We cannot imagine any better way to do so, than starting with a robot co-designed by a 12 year old girl.

Perhaps more than anything else that we’ve done, we think that the WaterColorBot really can make the world a better place, one (young) Evil Mad Scientist at a time.

Maker Camp: Robots

Today, Tuesday, July 16, Super Awesome Sylvia and I will be joining Maker Camp for a special Google+ hangout focused on robots at 1 pm PDT. Sylvia will be demonstrating her WaterColorBot, which we’ve worked together on.

We’ll be on after our good friend, Erin RobotGrrl, shares some of her robot-building techniques in Robot Hangout #1 at 11 am PDT.

The 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire in Pictures

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The 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire is a wrap— and it was amazing.  And we took pictures. We’ve uploaded 362 photos from maker faire right here for your browsing pleasure.   But first, a little preview.

 

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Kids play with giant cardboard robot arms at the Giant Cardboard Robots booth. As they say, “The revolution will be corrugated.”

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Glo-Puter Zero, by Alan Yates, with its phosphor-based memory. Truly a highlight of the show.

 

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Lenore shares a nerdy moment with Akiba from Freaklabs.

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An unusual LED badge, from the Bay Lights project.

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The Western Pyrotechnics Association is a club for people that make their own fireworks.  It’s incredible to see the complexity and artistry of the fireworks and the tooling that makes them.

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A beautiful hovercraft, designed to look like a flying DeLorean; you can see video of it on the project site.

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Back at our booth, the WaterColorBot was a constant hit.  Above, Sylvia shows visitors how to sketch with it in real time.

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An unexpected application: Our friend Bilal Ghalib stopped by and enlisted the WaterColorBot to help him make a birthday card for another friend.

 

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And one of our favorite moments of Maker Faire: a young visitor, tickled pink as she tries out the WaterColorBot, watching it paint a drawing that she had just sketched.

 

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A bicycle-powered cardboard walking rhino, by Kinetic Creatures, makers of walking cardboard robot kits, with Theo Jansen inspired walking mechanisms.

 

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Some of the creations are simpler, like this sidewalk-chalk wielding vibrobot, spinning on a tabletop chalkboard at the Exploratorium booth.

 

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Some of the creations are more technical, like the OpenPNP project to create open source pick and place machines for electronics assembly.  We’re excited by where this is headed, along with a few related projects.

 

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And of course, there’s no shortage of LED goodness.

Please click right here for the rest of our 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire photo album.

 

White House Science Fair Roundup

President Obama tries out the WaterColorBot. Photo credit: State Observer

 We’ve gotten to see Super-Awesome Sylvia and her WaterColorBot in a variety of news sources following her journey to the White House Science Fair on Monday:

Congratulations to Sylvia on her participation in this fantastic event! We’ll add to this list as we find more articles and links.

Robotics Week and Upcoming Events

We are right in the middle of National Robotics Week, which runs April 6-14 and starts a string of events all over the country for makers of all kinds. We’ve listed a few upcoming highlights below:

You can look for events in your area on the National Robotics Week Events site and the Maker Faire Map site—feel free to add your favorites in the comments. We’ll be exhibiting at RoboGames and helping Super Awesome Sylvia show off the Watercolorbot at Maker Faire. We hope to see you there!

Super Awesome Sylvia visits Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Editor’s note: Super Awesome Sylvia has been visiting Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories for the last week and is guest blogging about her experience and project.

Last year I got to go to RoboGames and watch the competitions. This year I wanted to enter a robot of my own. I looked at the different types of robots you could enter and found out you can enter in a drawbot!

I drew a few sketches of what I wanted my robot to look like. I asked EMSL if I could come over to their shop for a week and make this bot!

When I got there I thought that I would start immediately making the base to my bot but instead we worked in inkscape making detailed drawings.

For the first couple of days I worked on doing a great detailed model on what this bot would look like. This bot was going to be a Watercolorbot!

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Also, we visited a FIRST Robotics team while EMSL helped out with their robot named Oddjob. Oddjob is a Frisbee throwing pyramid climbing robot.

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Once we had a good set of drawings for my watercolorbot we used the router to create the basic pieces of the bot and laser cut the carriage that holds the paintbrush. We also used dowel pins, screws, nuts, washers, and string to make a cool amazing bot. I will write more about the robot later but it took four different versions of the carriage to fit it in, three different pulleys, and two different ways to tie the string.

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I am so surprised at how fortunate I was to go to EMSL and build this bot. I had some amazing meals, great experiences and had a lot of fun. I hope to come back soon and build another revision or build another bot! I really liked hanging out and playing games during my free time. Thanks Evil Mad Scientists!!