The Robotics Club
Another boy (there are about eight here) is sitting on the driveway outside adjusting the arms of his robot, another Lego Mindstorm. He says that when it "senses" something, it shoots rubber bands at it. When you clap, it stops. He's very patiently adjusting its arms, trying to shoot a group of adults who are standing around their own larger robots, or "bots." Someone tells me that microprocessors are so cheap now that club members garbage-pick children's remote-control toys and turn them into robots. A man wearing a Hawaiian party shirt straps a laptop to a flat, four-wheeled robot with two pink and two black wheels. The laptop has a global positioning system. He starts driving the robot, mapping out the parking lot.
When I go back inside, Woodbot's owner has successfully adjusted his robot to smooth out its movements. The man helping him says, "See? We're constantly improving it. Now let's see if we can make it go faster."
The Robotics Club meets again on Wednesday, August 22.
[Review published August 2007]