Build your own robot

Find out how to build a robot with Mad Science in Bahrain Discuss this article

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If Hollywood is to be believed, one day the machines will rise and take over – either that, or they will be helping us with our household chores. Fact or fiction, friend or foe, either way the future seems to be starting right here, in Bahrain.

Kids aged eight-11 will be given the chance to start building their own robots this month. This is no creation from blocks of Lego, but mechanical parts, programmable arms and movements, flashing lights and more at Mad Science’s own laboratory as part of its new Robocamp. We caught up with Laura O’Connor at Mad Science to find out about her plans to train these mini geniuses.

Taking place over four weeks, the camp will provide children with hands-on, practical experience, channelling their imagination and creativity, and creating something they have probably never had the chance to before. ‘Mad Science always likes to encourage thinking outside of the box, but at the same time benefit kids in an educational sense,’ Laura explains. ‘The sessions held over the four weeks will each cover a different topic, but all will be essential in the building of their robot sidekick.’

Laura elaborates about the topic of each class. Over the course, kids will be taught about robotic movements, how sensors work to help the machines bring about movement, and even learn about the electricity that powers them. The lessons and practicals will combine, until at the end kids are left with their very own working, programmable robot. Laura also points out that there won’t be an opportunity to let these experiments get out of hand either. ‘The children will be under the strict surveillance of experts at the Mad Science lab at all times,’ she says. The course will see kids become pretty handy with basic tools as well – a screwdriver, hammer and pliers will all be required to build the robot.

It sounds like a very fun-filled four weeks. ‘We will guide the young Mad Scientists through the fundamentals of robotics and see to it that it’s a productive four weeks of fun and interaction,’ says Laura. ‘Our aim is to create a real environment for learning, testing their imagination and creativity. The final robot will be something they can program, and it will have its own built-in touch and sound sensor, plus the children will know what that means and exactly what it does. The robot can be made quickly recoil if it comes in contact with any object or “hears” a loud sound, and will instantly start travelling in the opposite direction.’ Or presumably shoot lasers and attack depending on how well the kids get into the class and are able to think of new additions.

The young boffins will also learn command sequences, or ‘the Law of Robotics’, whilst discovering how robots are used in our lives right now, and how robotic technology is revolutionising world today. Specific to the course, that means the robot could maneuver itseld left and right, or perhaps do a spinning dance, depending on what the sequence is.

Laura says there will be other benefits to the course too. ‘The creation of the robot is only part of it, and workshops will also help children develop their scientific skills, such as investigation and problem solving. Skills they can use later at school,’ she says. A robotic chum could also keep the kids occupied at home, and give you a little peace for a while. But a note to mums: Robocamp cannot guarantee these robots will help you out with any household chores.

The camp will take place every Saturday from from May 7-28, cost BD25, including all materials. For info, call Mad Science (17 591 136).

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

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