On July 25, a group of 42 people in Dayton, Ohio, joined with groups from all over the world to build NodeBots. Through the wonderful work of Chris Williams’s node-serialport and Rick Waldron’s Johnny-Five, we are able to use NodeJS to control Arduinos and other microcontrollers to build robots. And build robots we did. The goal was simple—build robots that would battle it out in an octagon ring. Push the other robot out of the ring, and you are the victor.
Armed with kits to build simple, Arduino-based robots and a mountain of craft supplies and some other random materials, people’s imaginations sprung to life. There were Star Wars themed robots (Moving Rebel Base), one built using pipe-cleaners and a plastic fork, a Pikachu robot, spinners, wedges, food service trays…
When it was all done, there was one bot left standing. Built by a mom with no robot experience and a 10 year-old boy, this knitted-together frame with dustbin weapons bested the field.
Big thanks to DataYard, Sparkbox, and Four Ambition for their generous sponsorships. I’d also like to thank my teammates Mike Yockey and Divya Sasidharan for helping to organize the day, and Marshall Norman for using his amazing design skills to create our logo and t-shirt. Without them, the day never would have happened.
When I got to work on Monday morning, there were multiple conversations happening about the events of the previous Saturday. There was still a lot of excitement around moving from our day-to-day building websites to using that knowledge to make something physical and watch it come to life. Because of this, and my love of tinkering with things, we are working on making this a more regular thing. Check gemcityjs.com/nodebots in the coming weeks for more info on what robot happenings will be coming.