The shipment from some really really awesome people at SparkFun Electronics finally arrived.
They have donated thousands of dollars worth of electronics and books, on top of paying the taxes. [Edit: The equipment was actually donated by Oysters & Pearls and they paid the taxes as well. Sparkfun gave us really deep discounts on the electronics, and they're sending one of their Student Outreach Trainers to Gulu for two weeks.)
I always get incredibly excited when I see the little red boxes from them. This time, however, the sheer amount of awesomeness contained in this box full of red boxes was simply... ecstatic.
We are so going to rock the Gulu Robotics Camp!
Thank you, awesome sponsors and organizers of the Gulu Robotics Camp. Two weeks and counting!
The preparations for the Robotics & Electronics Camp in Gulu are coming along nicely. Fundi Bots is being sponsored by an amazing team who are covering all expenses. Oysters & Pearls, which works with visually impaired children in Gulu High School is providing computers, transport and accommodation, SparkFun Electronics, Inc., one of the coolest electronics vendors in the world (ever) is providing the electronics and hardware at no cost to us. They will also be sending a team to facilitate the training, the amazing Edward Soyinka Echwalu has offered to come and photograph the camp activities and finally, as always, Elemental Edge will be filming the event and will produce a documentary afterwards.
To say we are terribly terribly excited is an understatement.
We’ll update you as we go along.
In April 2012, Fundi Bots had its first ever Robotics Camp at Nabisunsa Girls School. To the best of our knowledge, it was also the first Robotics Camp in the country. We had over 35 students from various secondary schools, and a volunteer team of 5 facilitators and teachers.
Over the course of three days, students were taught the basics of electronics assembled their first ever robot and programmed the machine to move and navigate around the laboratory. It was an exhilirating time for both the students and the teachers as they watched machines come to life and move based on commands that they had given.
The documentary below was filmed during the camp and some interviews were filmed afterwards. It gives a pretty solid idea of what Fundi Bots is about and the experiences that our students, teachers and guests share during their time with us. We hope you enjoy the video.
Fundi Bots – www.fundibots.com – is a non-profit working with students in Ugandan schools. Fundi Bots is focusing on the promotion, exposure, experimentation and technological growth in the fields of electronics and robotics.
This documentary was shot during our Robotics Camps in April 2012, which took place at Nabisunsa Girls School.
Most of the students we work with (and some adults) have been a little disappointed with the Rovers because they look too much like toy cars. They expect a robot to look close to something they see on TV or in movies, you know, with hands that move and at least some rudimentary facial expressions. So in preparation, I’m building something closer to that to help with the presentations and to engage the students a bit more.
Sparky is going to have
- 4 degrees of freedom per hand (shoulder, elbow, wrist and grasp)
- Rudimentary facial expressions, including pseudo-emotional reactions
- Wheeled treads
- Sensors for both Passive Infrared (human detection and follow) and Sonar (obstacle)
- Voice output (v2 Update)
This robot is being built using local materials by one of the student clubs. The drive system is made from a bicycle spoke and chain array. It might run into low traction issues but for now it runs suprisingly well.
The right motor / gear system is from an old CD tray and the left one is a home-made replica. The frame is wire put held together with rubber sliced bicycle tubing tightly wrapped to connect the wires and then covered with cellotape.
It’s a slow and tedious process, but watching it come together is amazing. Keep checking back for updates.
This morning, the Fundi Bots team woke up to the exciting news that Fundi Bots had been featured by the BBC in the Technology for Business section. See excerpt and full link below.
Can robotics change the future of a nation?
“I want to go deeper into machines – automatic machines. I was inspired by him when he came to school – so I had to find ways of getting in touch with him.”
Victor Kawagga is a softly spoken young man, but his quiet manner can’t counter the eager sparkle in his eyes and the passion he has for the machines he’s surrounded by. The bedroom of this house in the Ugandan capital Kampala has been converted to a home lab, and the young people hard at work here are building robots. The ‘him’ he is referring to is Solomon King, the 29-year-old technologist and businessman who takes robotics into the classrooms of Uganda as the founder of Fundi Bots.
Continue to the full article.
We’re excited to announce that Fundi Bots was awarded a significant amount of funding through the Google RISE (Google Roots in Science and Engineering). This is a significant breakthrough for Fundi Bots and we’re excited by the potential extent to which our robotics outreach program can go. We are extremely grateful to the folks at the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation.
In the meantime, here’s a brief of their press release:
This year, the Google in Education group received a record number of inspiring applications for RISE. We expanded the awards to include Sub-Saharan Africa, and in total, we’re awarding more than $340,000 in funding to 13 U.S., eight European and five African organizations.
Our recipients are diverse, ranging from girls robotics teams building high-tech machinery in Nairobi to after-school programs that have students configuring cluster computers in Salt Lake City.
We’ll update you with details as we go along. For now, we’re off to see how much more we can now do to change the world around us.
Sneak Preview of the new Fundi Bots Walker robot, to be demo-ed and debut at this weekend’s Fundi Bots school sessions at Nabisunsa (Friday) and Mbale College (Saturday).
Yes it walks. Still refining gait and electronics. Will upload video soon.
We’re excited to announce of first electronics kit donation/sponsorship, courtsey of the the really cool girls and guys at SparkFun.
I buy almost all my electronics kit from SparkFun and a few weeks back, I reached out them asking if they could subsidize prices for us or if they had a philanthropic arm. It turns out they do have an Education Outreach Department that caters to projects and initiatives like Fundi Bots.
They graciously accepted to send us three SparkFun Inventor’s Kits (Arduino based), plus two CDs of software, well written and documented teacher’s guides and assorted learning material. Actual monetary value is north of $450 dollars (computed cost of purchase and shipping). Fundi Bots value: Priceless. Read more >>
LEDs are light emitting diodes, and they are those little red, green, blue, green, etc lights that you see blinking from almost every electronic device these days. Phones, DVD players, TVs, clocks, etc.
An 8×8 LED Matrix looks like this.
An 8×8 LED Matrix. Each white dot contains a red LED.
It’s basically a little square electronic device that has 8 rows of LEDs with 8 LEDs per row, making for a total of 64 LEDs. They are used mostly to as a visual component of a project or application. basically to display low resolution graphics, numbers, letters and so on. Read more >>
Links & StuffWe've listed some useful places, contacts, friends, vendors and sponsors below. We hope you find them useful.
- The Rogue King Founder’s blog. Rants and raves about everything and nothing.