Cables, laptops, cables and a jolly crowd. A group of young people are engrossed in a discussion as they constantly look at one of the laptop screens. A tall teenager with deep set blue eyes joins them and he hurriedly types on the laptop… Now he clicks the mouse and claps once… He stands back and watches. Is that a toy car on the table moving? Oh dear, it is moving!
Welcome to the world of robots. And yes, it is right here in Kenya. The boy claps again. Each time he repeats the process the toy car moves. Faster, slower, sometimes stops and moves again, as the team keenly observes. This is a project of the Nairobi University Fab Lab who pitched tent at the Storymoja Hay Festival at the Nairobi National Museum, September 2012. The Fab Lab project seeks to help children understand how robots work.
The boy, Andy, is a student at Braeburn School. He is interested in learning more about scientific innovations. He says that by changing the commands, he was making the robot move faster or slower as it responded to the clapping sound. “Soon I shall be a scientist!” he says.
Check out the Storyhippo Village Programme for events for teens and children today and Sunday 16th September 2012.