YuKonstruct volunteers Kerän and Ben were on hand for a fun robot building workshop at the Augusto Children’s Festival. Here is Kerän’s report on what they got up to.

What is it like to be a robotics engineer? Nineteen kids found out last weekend at the Augusto Children’s Festival in Haines Junction.
They were attending a robot-building workshop where they created their own battery-operated machines. Five volunteers, including an engineering grad with experience in building robots, led the kids through the business of design, assembly, wiring, soldering and testing.

Each child received a kit containing all the pieces needed to create a movable machine. The festival teamed up with BYTE and YuKonstruct to provide an array of craft supplies for decoration and volunteers to help out.

The first step was to construct wheel assemblies using motors and axles. Those were then hot glued to pieces of foam core. From there it was on to the tricky job of wiring the motors to a control box. If the wires aren’t connected properly, the robots could end up spinning in circles instead of driving forward and backwards. Then it was on to design and this is where the kids were encouraged to let their imaginations run wild. Volunteer Ben Sanders says there was no shortage of ideas. “The designs ranged from monsters and airplanes to feathered birds and even a robotic maid that serves little cups of tea.”

The robot kits were purchased from the Manitoba Robot Games in Winnipeg. The non-profit group has been introducing elementary school students to robotics for 22 years.