The Superhero Cyborgs program, run by KIDmob and Autodesk, invited 10-year old Jordan to design and build her prosthetic super hero arm.
“The program connects children with upper-limb differences with professional engineers so that they can design and create their own custom-made prosthetics that do, well, whatever the kids want them to do.”
In the case of Jordan, that arm was a glitter cannon. Read more at Fast Company.
I’ve come across a few funny robots lately that I think have the “wow!” factor for kids…
1. The Walkerbot with pencil legs
Randy from the Instructables Design Studio (author of Simple Bots and 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer) designed the walkerbot out of 3D printed parts and stuff he bought at Radio Shack. Read more at 3DPrint
2. The Soft yet Indestructible “worm” Robot
Researchers at Cornell and Harvard have developed this funny-looking, super tough robot that you can burn, drive over and throw under water. The robot may one day play a role in emergency search and rescue in hazardous conditions such as earthquakes or fires. Learn more in this Recode article
3. Life-like Parrot Robot
Finally, this man’s created a 3D printed parrot robot with very life-like moves. Read more in this 3DPrint article
If these videos don’t make 3D printing and robotics even a little bit interesting to your kids, then we’re in trouble!
Halloween is around the corner, and this year 3D printing offers a way to tie some design and engineering to costumes and decorations.
Cubify is offering 3D printing patterns that are free to download. Along with pumpkin accessories, you can choose masks, mustaches and other spooky decorations. Even better, have a look at these patterns for inspiration and then use one of the simple software programs — such as 123D Design (free from Autodesk), Sculptris (free from Pixologic), or Doodle3D (requires WiFi box), or Makers Empire (free app to download)– to create your own designs.
And now you can choose from a number of options assuming that, like most people, you don’t have a 3D printer. Options include:
The UPS store, which has rolled out 3D printing services at a number of stores in the US
A few public libraries and many schools
3D printing services such as Sculpteo, i.materialize, and Shapeways
On the subject of costumes, have a look at an amazing suit one woman created through 3D printing.
It’s a Varia Suit worn by the character Samus Aran in the video game series Metroid. But even if you’re like me and you’ve never heard of the game, it’s still impressive, and all the more inspiring when a woman takes on a project like this (if she is a woman…she’s a bit mysterious). This article (at 3Dprint.com) tells more of the story.
A few months back I wrote a post about 6 ways that bicycles help kids learn about sustainability. Innovation was one — and there were some crazy and wonderful pictures.
So when I saw this 3D printed mesh bicycle frame I just had to add it to the “catalogue” of bicycle innovations that are sure to get kids thinking about how we make (engineer) things. The green wheels are a nice touch too!
This bike was created by Australian industrial designer James Novak and I learned about it on i.materialise, where Novak said,
“What I really wanted to achieve was something that takes full advantage of the benefits of 3D printers, especially the ability to create one-off, customizable pieces that may be lighter-weight and stronger than traditional frames through the use of complex lattice structures. More than anything, I’d like my work to be an example of what we should be 3D Printing.”
From a sustainability angle, lighter weight makes bicycling more accessible and I can see this mesh design having implications for folding or other “portable bikes” that you might take on the train and such.
So what do you think? Would you ride it? How about the kids you know?