For those of you that ventured along to Bett this year, you may have spotted a small spinning robot on our stand, which we christened ‘The Scanner Bot’.
Crumble Scanner Bot on the @RedfernElec stand at #Bett. A motor, servo, ultrasonic distance sensor and a Sparkle all powered by a Crumble. Physical computing shouldn’t be expensive or difficult. Check out more at stand SD70. #bettshow #bett2020 @Bett_show pic.twitter.com/siq2r8K94l— Daniel Betson (@DJBetson) January 23, 2020
You may have even seen posts about it on Twitter. The project drew a lot of attention, and eventually it got us thinking – we need to turn this into a project on the website.
The idea for the project actually stemmed from last year’s Bett, where Helen, one of the Directors here at Redfern, wanted to highlight that fact that motors can be used in different ways. So whilst we were there, she created this :
I have to confess I “borrowed” the detector-bot idea when we were at BETT last week: a great way to show that the motor outputs aren’t just for buggies… pic.twitter.com/8vxb8uRjCP— Helen Roberts (@helenroberts77) January 31, 2019
As you can also see, Helen had been inspired by the video of a students’ work, posted by Phil Wickins.
Given that the inspiration for our new Scanner Bot had been ‘magpied’, we wanted to give credit where credit is due. So we contacted Phil to tell him about our project idea, and whether he was ok with us referring to it.
When he came back to us, he had gone above and beyond in providing loads of information about the project, including the original design work, which is awesome!
Meet the ‘Burglar Alarm Bot’ – the true inspiration behind our Scanner Bot project.
The Burglar Alarm Bot was made by William Bradley, a Year 6 pupil from Bitterne Manor Primary School, Southampton. We absolutely love this project, and as you can see, it looks great and it works really well!
In his blog about the teaching that went around this project, Phil outlines his creative approach to teaching physical computing. Instead of having a set project in mind, he teaches the children how to use the individual components, and then lets them use their imagination to come up with a project. We really like this approach to physical computing, as it enables children to work within their means, and push themselves to their own limits. The phrase “low floor, high ceiling and wide walls” comes to mind here.
One of the most important steps within this process, is the planning stage. As you can see from William’s design, he was confident in how he wanted his project to look.
The careful thought and consideration that went into the planning stage, and the prior learning (components) meant that William knew how the ‘insides’ would fit together, and this lead to a brilliant project.
Although we’ve focussed primarily on the Burglar Alarm Bot, if you head over to Phil’s blog, you will see many more great designs by the other pupils in his class.
If you want to have a go at making your own Scanner Bot, head over to our project page.