Back in 2007 I had the chance to make a series of lectures with Casey Reas on the topic of open tools for design and art production. We toured 6 schools within the University of California in just 3 days. I prepared two lectures for this, the first one was called “High is Five” and the second “I hate robots”. The earlier was an attempt to explain my views on open hardware, while the second was just a collection of projects that had to do with electronics and were not robots.
Time has passed and now I am experiencing a counter-reaction. Since a month ago I am designing a low cost robot for the Spanish cultural centre in Mexico (more to come on this topic). But also I am starting to meet more and more people that see robots as a way of bringing kids into understanding electronics, as well as other science related topics. One of those is Eduardo Gallego, who runs the Complubot robotics studio in Madrid, Spain. He works with youngsters and has a pretty long history in the field of educational robots.
Among his achievements, his team has won for the third year in a row the Robot Soccer World Cup (at least one of the categories). Last time was in Singapore a couple of days ago. He has made a migration from other more expensive and hard to use tools, to run all the four competing robots using Arduino boards. He runs workshops for people interested in electronics and robotics and has made Arduino into his main tool for teaching. Check his educational robot here.
I must confess I had no idea about many of these things until I heard about the Robot Soccer World Cup. I am still not interested either in Soccer, nor Robots (or not industrial robots). But I see the potential of robotics in the same way Eduardo does. I believe there is a lot to do and getting things cheap is probably among the most important ones.