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Well, we decided to test out our old Brush Bots (which are, essentially, motorized brushes that scoot about the floor) with out any suprvision from the staff. Basically, we let the visitors play with them however they wanted. It turns out that our Bots were not tough enough to survive an entire day with our visitors.
Back to the drawing board…
The MakeShop Interns and I decided to try and make the Bots tougher, but I still wasn't sure that using the brushes was such a good idea. Felix designed a similar vibrating Bot out of a funnel and it seemed to last the day unlike the old Bots. His Funnel Bot had all of the components (motor, wires, batteries) on the inside and only the switch was exposed. There was the handle, switches…
What if the purpose of the Bots was to teach about different switches…Each Bot would have a different mechanism to turn it on. It would be the visitors' job to figure how each switch worked. The gears were turning…The Team and I immediately started developing and building Bots out of various materials. We decided to motorize ordinary objects around the Museum; a Silk Screen Ink jar, a cup from the Cafe and a plastic bottle. All the Bots work on the same idea, a small, offset motor vibrates the object its attached to allowing it to move around. We joked about motorizing one of the garbage cans as well.
I was so happy to see how quickly the Team and I went from simply playing with our old Brush Bots to developing something for visitors to enjoy. I didn't think that my joke about motorizing everything would be taken so seriously. Glad it did.
More on this project in the near future.