Building a VacBot (vacuum robot) prototype for the MicroMakers II Hackathon Day
Building a VacBot (vacuum robot) prototype for the MicroMakers II Hackathon Day

MicroMakers II finished with a bang. Coding Kids organised the MicroMakers II Hackathon to conclude the six-week program at Bulimba State School on Saturday, September 3. Student teams participated in the half-day event, where parents, teachers, mentors and volunteers showed their support as students presented their final projects. 

The MicroMakers II program encouraged students to identify a community problem that they wanted to solve or a game that they wanted to design and build. A number of exciting projects came out of the students’ hard work and efforts. The technologies that were used included: Scratch, MaKey MaKey, mBot, Tinkercad and 3D printing.

The projects that were developed by the student teams were: 

An emergency torch with a buzzer and light

Team: Joel & Toby

This project was inspired after the visit to the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision. A challenge was proposed to the students to solve to assist people who were lost in the bush. The student team designed a 3D design of a torch on Tinkercad. The design was 3D printed.  The first 3D print was too small so the 3D design was adjusted and a new torch was 3D printed. The torch was connected to a Makey Makey with an LED and a Scratch program. The integration with Scratch allowed the students to include an emergency buzzer for the torch. The torch switch would turn on the light and the emergency buzzer to help the people who were lost in the bush to be found. 

Inspired by the visit to the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision. Building an Emergency Torch for bush walkers. 
Inspired by the visit to the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision. Building an Emergency Torch for bush walkers. 

A vacuum robot prototype

Team: Andrew & Liam

The student team wanted to create a vacuum robot to help households to quickly clean the home before guests arrived. They built a prototype using an mBot robot and programmed the robot to navigate the floor, detect and avoid walls. A vacuum robot would consist of three parts: 1) Robot, 2) Vacuum, 3) AI software to control the robot’s movements. The student team focussed on developing the AI for the prototype robot. 

Students presenting their VacBot (vacuum robot) prototype at the MicroMakers II Hackathon Day. 
Students presenting their VacBot (vacuum robot) prototype at the MicroMakers II Hackathon Day. 

A maze game and a 3D printed game controller

Team: Abby, Lola & Matilda

The student team built a multiple level maze game in Scratch. They used Tinkercad to create a 3D design of a game controller. The game controller was 3D printed and connected to a MaKey MaKey and the Scratch game. 

Building the 3D printed game controller with a MaKey MaKey.
Building the 3D printed game controller with a MaKey MaKey.
Demo of the Maze Game and the 3D printed game controller. 
Demo of the Maze Game and the 3D printed game controller. 

Mood lighting

Team: Oliver

The student created a 3D design in Tinkercad and printed a light cover. The light cover was designed to create interesting effects with the light. The light was build by attaching LEDs to a MaKey MaKey. 

Mood Lighting project by a student of the MicroMakers II programme at Bulimba State School.
Mood Lighting project by a student of the MicroMakers II programme at Bulimba State School.

A shooting game

Team: Thomas and Angus

The student team built a shooting game using Scratch. The students learned complex coding concepts such as cloning objects and broadcasting messages. 

Developing a shooting game in Scratch and learning to use the cloning blocks to code the shooting function.
Developing a shooting game in Scratch and learning to use the cloning blocks to code the shooting function.

TED – a Talking Entertainment Droid

Team: Lily & Hannah

The team wanted to create a robot for friendship and companionship. They built a robot using recycled materials such as a shoebox and toilet rolls. They connected the robot to a MaKey MaKey and a Scratch program, where the latter was designed so that the robot could tell jokes, stories, and comments. 

TED - a Talking Entertainment Droid, a friend and companion to those who are lonely. 
TED – a Talking Entertainment Droid, a friend and companion to those who are lonely. 
Developing the code for TED so that TED can say jokes, stories and talking about itself. 
Developing the code for TED so that TED can say jokes, stories and talking about itself. 

Giving presentations

The teams experienced real life challenges of using technology in presentations. Projects that were working perfectly during the term and at rehearsals did not necessarily work according to plan at the presentation. This added to the realistic experience of professional technical presentations. 

Experiencing real life tech presentations, where anything can go wrong and sometimes does. 
Experiencing real life tech presentations, where anything can go wrong and sometimes does. 

The next steps

The student teams will be presenting their projects to their class to share their experiences with a wider audience in the next few weeks. 

Well done to all the teams! I encourage you to continue developing your prototypes. This is only the beginning. 

Writing the code for the Maze Game.
Writing the code for the Maze Game.