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QuestBots visit the Nation’s capital (founder’s version)

QuestBot and Founder visits the Smithsonian in Washington DC!

Ok. First things first. When you pack a suitcase full of robots make sure you weigh the robots first. You’re only allowed fifty pounds in your checked baggage and you may want to throw in a pair of underwear or socks as well. I wound up repacking everything at the airport and almost missed my flight because I had five extra pounds of robot than expected. Total amateur move, right?

So why was I headed to Washington DC with a suitcase full of robots? To do our first set of “official” workshops with the QuestBots and Quest Controller. The QuestBots were born in Longmont, CO and have been beat up by thousands of tiny Coloradan hands over two years of testing using lean methodology. You would think that we would want to do a bunch of workshops on our home turf before hitting the road, let alone going to the nation’s capital, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball. This last one came in the form of a workshop on RPPs (Research Partnership Practices) and QuestBotics was determined to hit it out of the park. A researcher with whom we worked for testing purposes had applied to this particular workshop and QuestBotics volunteered to represent the Makerspace where we built our robots at the workshop. So I found myself jamming a suitcase full of robots and rushing to the airport.

At the workshop I took off my metaphorical QuestBotics hat and put on my Tinkermill Makerspace volunteer hat. Along with teams from all around the nation we discussed best practices for researchers and non-traditional educators who wish to work together. It was a welcome change from staring at QuestBot firmware code and poking at circuits with a soldering iron. Having worked out of Tinkermill while building the QuestBots we have a unique perspective on Makerspaces. It also turns out that as Makerspaces in the U.S. evolve they tend to be more education oriented and spaces with an entrepreneurial and industrial foci such as Tinkermill become rarer. So we worked with researchers to craft research questions that might help make Tinkermill more enticing to parents and educators for a day and a half with people from all over the nation.

Then we parted ways and QuestBotics wandered to a DC Elementary school to conduct a workshop with educators. They were ecstatic over the possibilities that QuestBotics represents as we played with robots throughout the morning. The educators ranged from relatively new STEM educators to a very accomplished IT service provider. No matter the skill level of the attendee there was something for everyone to puzzle out.

Parents and kids at Nova Labs enjoyed their time with the QuestBot

The trip to Washington was a big success in a lot of ways. We’re already working to figure out how to head back and introduce a bigger group of QuestBots to even more students, parents and educators. If you would like to be a part of that effort please let us know by sending an email to Workshops@QuestBotics.com.

Written by QuestBotics founder Lindsay Craig