I recently watched this YouTube video done by Emily Graslie, a female science communicator and YouTube educator who works at the Field Museum in Chicago. The video talks about the sexism she experiences in her job.
It really resonated with me and made me start thinking about what I could do in my role as the owner of a tech business for kids to combat gender stereotypes especially in tech.
I am going to start a lecture series where woman in tech come to Brooklyn Robot Foundry and give a ~45 min lecture and Q&A about what they do. The event would be open to the public and aimed at families with kids ages 6-13 (or so). The lecture would be a way to introduce kids and adults to technology with the aim of showing them that woman can and do have tech jobs.
Ada Lovelace (my daughter’s namesake)
The lectures would be free. The people who attended would have an option to give a donation which would go towards a scholarship fund for girls to take classes at the Foundry.
If you or anyone you know might be interested in being part of this lecture series, please pass along my information (below). In return I would be happy to allow the lecturer or her children to attend a workshop at the Foundry.
Check out this awesome video that our friends from the EdLab at Teachers College created about Brooklyn Robot Foundry. We absolutely love it and think they did an outstanding job capturing what is special about the Foundry. Thanks!
The week before school started, we decided to try a new type of summer session where we created a massive Rube Goldberg machine. The purpose of the class was to build a machine that does as many steps as possible before turning on our giant robot sign. We had 21 awesome builders who amazed us with their creativity and originality in designing and building one incredible machine.
We had to nudge the machine a few times but all in all we were very proud of our final creation.
Below is the step by step:
a marble is released down a ramp (with a 90 degree bend)
the marble goes through the legs of the stacking robots and hits dominoes
the dominoes fall over onto a special domino with foil around it
the foil domino completes a circuit and causes a motor to spin at the top of a tower
the motor has a stick on it that hits a golf ball
the golf ball rolls down a ramp and dumps into a cup
the cup is on a lever which hits another ball that is on a zipline
that ball goes down the zipline and hits another ball that hits another smaller ball
the smaller ball falls into a hole on the ramp and a motor spins (for special effects only)
the larger ball rolls all the way down the ramp
as it goes down it rolls over switches and turns on LEDs
at the bottom of the ramp the ball rests on a switch
that switch turns on a motor that is attached to propeller
the propeller hits a golf ball that rolls down a ramp
the golf ball causes an LED to flicker as it rolls down the ramp
the golf ball lands on a lever
the bottom of the lever is a switch that turns on another LED
when the lever is lifted, it knocks over a table that completes a circuit and turns on a motor
the motor (and gearbox) is attached to a linkage that winds up a string wrapped around a pulley
the string lifts up a stick that is holding down a stretchy, plastic animal toy
the toy flies through the air and hits a lever
the lever hits a ball
the ball rolls down a tube and into another tube on the end of a lever
the lever falls down and causes a ball on the other end of the lever to roll down the lever and on to a ramp
the ball goes down the ramp into a cup
the cup is suspended on another lever and raises
this causes a new ball to be dumped onto another inclined plane which rolls down into a cup
that cup closes the circuit and causes a motor to spin
the motor is attached to a dowel rod with two corks on strings
once the corks go fast enough, the cork hits a line of stacking robot
the stacking robots falls down
the last stacking robot pulls a string which pulls away a support from under a weight
the weight is connected to a string around a pulley, the other side of the string is connected to a cup which tips and a ball is released
the ball rolls down a very long ramp
as it rolls it hits three levers (switches) which turn on LEDs
at the bottom of the ramp the ball knocks into a ring connected to a rubber band
the rubber band releases a lever
another ball rolls down an inclined plane
the ball hits a cup which tips over and releases another ball
that ball rolls into dominoes
the dominoes tip over
the last dominoes is covered with foil and completes a circuit
the circuit turns on a motor
when the motor turns on it moves a hook which releases a battering ram
the battering ram goes down the zipline and hits a marble
the marble knocks a ball off the edge of a cup
the ball goes down a ramp and falls into a cup connected to a double lever
on the end of the double lever is another ball which then rolls down a track
the ball hits a line of stacking robots
the first stacking robot has foil on it with a blue LED on its head, when it falls over, the LED turns on
the last stacking robot knocks a weight off of a lever
the lever falls onto another lever
that lever forces open a gate
the gate holds a windup car (charged)
once the gate moves, the car drives off the cardboard cliff
attached to the car is a string, the string is attached to a cup
on top of the cup is a tinfoil ball, when the car drives forward the cup is pulled and the foil ball rolls down a ramp
when the foil ball reaches the bottom of the ramp it completes a circuit
a motor turns on which makes a stick on the shaft spin
the stick then knocks a ball (covered in foil attached to part of a circuit) off the edge of a cup
that ball falls into a cup which completes a circuit and turns on a white LED
the cup is on a double lever which releases a fiberglass ball
that ball zigzags down a ramp into a shoot
the ball then hits a line of stacking robots
one robot (covered in foil) acts as a switch and turns on an LED
the stacking robots fall up a staircase
two of the robots (covered in foil) complete a circuit and turn on a motor with a spinning butterfly
the last stacking robot (one at the top) falls onto a toy scale
the scale raises and releases a ball
the ball goes down a track and through a tunnel
and falls onto a small platform attached to a power strip
and…. the power strip turns on our giant robot sign!!!!
We are super excited to announce that we are partnering with SparkTruck! They are taking their show on the road and we are lucky enough to be one of their east coast stops.
What is SparkTruck? The SparkTruck , created by the Stanford d.school, is designed to incite creativity and invigorate science, tech, engineering and math skills of children by providing free workshops where the kids learn to use 3D printers, laser cutters and LEGO Mindstorms.
DETAILS: Thursday, 8/15 from 3:30-5:30pm.
REGISTRATION: The event is totally FREE but space is limited. Currently all spots are taken. Waitlist information coming soon!
Hello everyone! Happy 4th of July. We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with their families.
We will be closed on Thursday but our retail store is open normal business hours the rest of the week (Wed-Sat 12-7 & Sun 12-5).
We have had three incredible weeks of summer sessions so far! And boy has it been a blast. We started with Robot Vehicles and ended with Robot Forts and Cities. We can’t wait till next week when we start back up again. What a fun summer this is going to be!!!
Check out this video of the 14 foot tall Giant Robot that the kids built last Friday!
Jessica’s speech at SXSW was entitled, “There’s No Ambition Gap: Truth About Women in Tech”. The panel discussion on WNYC was on “How Tech is Changing the Way Woman Work”. We feel so honored to be mentioned in both!
She talks about an experience she had while eating at a local restaurant. One of our Girls’ Club members came into the restaurant and brought her newly created robot cat. She was giddy with pride as she showed the other restaurant patrons the robot she had just completed. Jessica was so struck with the experience that she decided to include it in her SXSW speech as well as to talk about it again during the panel discussion.
In the South by Southwest talk, we are mentioned around 37:50. During the panel discussion, we are mentioned around 38:00.
And here is a quick video of the cute kitty itself!
Siemond Chan from Yahoo Finance came in last week to do an interview. You can check out the interview here. What an exciting week indeed!
After Siemond and I talked for a bit up in the office, he stuck around and got to experience the excitement of an after school session and snapped a few quick photos. It was really fun talking about what we do and then being able to show a session in action. I really enjoyed seeing how the article came together!
We are in New York Magazine’s Best of 2013 as one of New York’s Best Kids Workshops!!! Check it out online! We are on page 92 of the print magazine.
We feel so lucky to have been mentioned. What an honor! So exciting!
Thanks to all of our customers and friends who have supported us. New customers often say they heard about us from their friends and we just want to say thanks for spreading the word about what we do! We appreciate it so much!