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Hello world!

In June of 2012 we started up a kids learning group as an alternative to The Robot Group (TRG), specifically for kids at ATX Development Center.   Join our email list or watch this space for times and locations.

Though Kidbot is separate from The Robot Group, many TRG members like to help out with the event. Kids must be supervised by a parent at all times. Activities will vary based on age and skill level but some of the following ideas are planned:

  • Take stuff apart… How does it work?
  • Electronics introduction
  • mechanics
  • designing circuits
  • building circuits on solderless breadboards
  • soldering skills
  • computer programming
  • NXT, XO, Arduino, Windows, web, etc
  • and of course, robotics.

If you’re bringing kids, please let us know their ages when you RSVP so we can be sure to have some appropriate activities.

*Important Note: KidBot has been on hiatus since our last meeting in January 2013. ATX Development Center moved into a new space which could no longer accommodate us. 

Kidbot may return if someone or a group of people are willing to take responsibility to make it happen.  Contact us if that’s you!

Round Rock Mini Maker Fair

Hey folks,

We just heard about this one:  A mini Maker Fair in Round Rock, for all you folks from the north end of town.

June 8th.

Check it out:

Free summer camp sessions in Waco

Hi folks,

I just received this announcement from Texas State Teaching College in Waco.

Free summer camp sessions for 9th to 12th grades!  Go for it if you’re able!


TSTC 2013 Summer Camps

APEX (Achieving Personal Excellence Through Teamwork): Mission 120K Date: Camp June 10th-19th, 9am-4pm
Ages: Rising 9th – 12th Grades (girls)
Cost: Free

Description: How do you inspire female students to explore science, form lasting relationships with each other, design unique materials, document the entire process, and spend a week on TSTC’s campus working with instructors and mentors? You launch a weather balloon 120,000 feet in the air. APEX: Mission 120K is designed to allow female students an opportunity to creatively collaborate in small teams, each responsible for a specific role in the project, and launch a balloon up to an altitude of 120,000 feet. In this inaugural mission, teams will among other things, prepare launch plans, study weather patterns, engineer and design the launch payload, and retrieve the payload after descent all while working alongside college faculty and staff. This unique experience is designed specifically to inspire and encourage female students to explore careers and fields of study in STEM (Science, Technology, engineering, and Math), while also providing the environment and instruction of a top ranked technical college.

Robotics Challenge Camp
Date: June 24th-28th, 9am-4pm
Ages: Rising 9th – 12th Grades
Cost: Free
Description: The Robotics Challenge Camp offers students the experience of competing in a robotics competition in a fun and creative summer camp atmosphere, while also learning the different facets of competitions like BEST robotics that are needed to be successful. Students will have the opportunity to explore and engage in activities that build team work and organization, foster effective use of engineering design processes, promote collaborative efforts amongst teams, and above all have fun. Students will build and program their own robots, test and redesign, learn project management and strategy, and present their robot to panel of judges in a marketing presentation among other activities. Individuals and teams of 5 are encouraged to attend, and all materials are provided.

WaterBotics: Underwater Robotics Camp Date: July 8th-12th, 9am-4pm
Ages: Rising 9th-12th Grades
Cost: Free

Description: This camp allows student to learn what engineers do and who they are, while engaging in fun activities centered on building a water robot (waterbot) from LEGOS, and these are not your run of the mill LEGOS. Teams work in a collaborative environment alongside TSTC staff that will encourage students to learn how engineers change the world for the better, solve important problems in the world, and use their unique talents to create fun and interesting things. During the five day camp, participants will explore a variety of fun topics centered around science, engineering, and technology, while building their own unique waterbot to complete four different missions. Participants then will show off their creations to their fellow campers and give feedback to one another in a positive environment. Students will also have the opportunity to tour different TSTC technologies throughout the week, while also working with staff and faculty and learning how they prepare students to impact the world in a positive manner after graduation.

SRC (Student Racing Challenge) Camp Date: July 15th-19th, 9am-4pm
Ages: Rising 9th-12th Grades (girls) Cost: Free

Description: Who says girls don’t like cars? Building off of the excitement that NASCAR and other motorsports have generated, TSTC has this unique and fun opportunity for twenty female high school students. Participants will collaborate in small groups and explore the science and mechanics that go into high performance auto racing. They will create a 1:10 scale model NASCAR stock car while creating and designing everything from chassis set up to gears set up, while also engaging in activities that bring to life the physics and science of topics such as the geometry of a curve and how friction plays a role in automobile racing. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore different technologies on the TSTC campus that relate to high performance racing, and tour state of the art TSTC labs and workshops where students and faculty bring to life this excitement every day. This camp is in collaboration with the NASCAR ten80 STEM challenge.

For more information contact Sheryl Kattner-Allen 254-867-3875

Next up: Explore UT day

There are a lot of activities going on this spring, and the next one we recommend is Explore UT on March 2nd.  See our calendar for details and some suggestions from those of us who have been there before, or go straight to the source at

KidBot Jan 12

We’re ready to go this Saturday.

St Francis School, 300 East Huntland Drive.  Just north of Highland Mall.

Did you get anything cool for Christmas?  Did you make anything cool?  Bring it along.

1:30 to 3:30.

Let us know if you’re planning to come!

New location, Starting back up in January!

Just before the holidays I was able to connect up with the nice folks at St. Francis School  (300 East Huntland Drive, Austin – just north of Highland Mall) and check out their building.

They’re very open to us holding KidBot meetings there!

So we’ll be starting back up sometime in January.  Probably January 12th, since they start back to school on the 7th.  We still need to work out a few details (keys to the building, etc).

Watch for the announcement early that week!

Kidbot gets a discussion list!

Austin Kidbot now has an email discussion list!   Those of you who are interested in KidBotian stuff, please Sign Up Here!  Open to all kids and adults, in Austin and wherever, who want to talk about robots, electronics, and other such stuff.

Archives of the discussions will be available here. (it’s brand new, so nothing but a couple test messages so far).

Enjoy, and see you there!

Printer salvage

Printer salvage can be used for more than the joy of taking the printer apart. For  example, you can get capacitors, resistors, voltage regulators, transistors, inductors, gear mechanisms, laser tubes, lenses, various rollers, wires, springs, hardware, microswitches, relays, motors and more!!! With all those parts, you can probably build a cool looking robot with about 1 printer. has a more complete story.

Non-meeting: TechShop Open House

No KidBot meeting on Oct 20th.

We’re checking out TechShop as a possible new location for KidBot meetings.  You may want to check it out yourself at their open house.

Even if we don’t end up having KidBot meetings there, it seems like a pretty cool place.

If you go, let us know what you think.

KidBot at Caine’s Cardboard Challenge Oct 6; Solar race still to come

Due to the rainy weekend and the high chance of not having any solar with which to race our solar car entries the KidBot team did not go to the Renewable Energy Roundup after all.  BUT we have word from the race organizer that there will indeed be a race at ACC in Austin sometime in the near future, so keep your eyes out for news.

This weekend, Oct 6, we’ll be at the local Cardboard Challenge event, NOT at ATX Dev Center.  Hope to see you there, with your creations and good energy.  We plan to bring the solar racers there to show off with if the weather is good.

Oct 13 will likely be our final meeting at ATX Dev Center.  If you have ideas of where else to meet, please let us know!

KidBot goes to Fredericksburg this week!

Instead of our regular weekly meeting at ATX Dev Center, we’ll be going to the Renewable Energy Roundup in Fredericksburg on Sept 29th (Saturday) for a fun day of learning about renewables, green building, organic gardening, and more, and of course to race the solar cars the kids have built.

The race itself is at 3pm, but we suggest getting there earlier (the grounds are open from 9am to 6pm Saturday) to see all the exhibitors, catch some talks or some music, and see the full size electric, bioenergy, and other vehicles.

We’re working on carpools…  Please be in touch through The Robot Group’s email discussion list.  If you’d like to volunteer as the point person for carpooling, please let us know!

The next Robot Group meeting is Thursday 7:30PM  at ATX Dev Center, and any interested Bot Kids (and their parents) are welcome to come by to put the finishing touches on the cars.

Our racers have been built out of donated parts, many of them reused and recycled from dead electronics, rescued and put together by the kids with some technical advice from parents and TRG members  (an example includes a Dell computer plastic lid as a frame, with baby stroller wheels attached to former printer motors, the RC coming from a defunct toy car, solar panels glued to bamboo skewers).

And just in case you missed it…

No KidBot meeting at ATX Dev Center Sept 29!