My First Robot: A Simple Demo To Get Kids Excited About Robotics


[Will] from Revolt Lab needed a project to get the summer campers he supervises interested in electronics, but when your audience is 5 years old, your subject matter had better be simple, yet interesting enough to hold their attention at length. He settled on using a Lego NXT robot to keep their little minds engaged, because who doesn’t like robots?

He picked up a basic Lego NXT kit and paged through the manual. The first “example” robot looked pretty cool so he decided to give it a shot, though he still hadn’t figured out exactly what he would have the robot do. Inspiration struck, and he decided that he could take advantage of the NXT’s color sensor as well as its proximity sensor to construct a balloon hunting robot.

He constructed a “balloon corral” to keep the balloons in place and the kids out of his thumbtack-wielding robot’s reach. He let his creation loose, and as you can see in the video below, the robot hunts down the blue balloon and pops it, much to the children’s delight.

If you’re in the position to introduce a group of young kids to electronics, this balloon popping robot paired with some conductive Play Dough would make for a fun and educational afternoon workshop.


4 thoughts on “My First Robot: A Simple Demo To Get Kids Excited About Robotics

  1. While this project is a great way to capture the attention of young children, even teenagers, the NXT kits are way out of school budgets or other public entities.
    What we need is a cheap way to do the same, some kind of modular design.

  2. @R M : that’s not entirely true, we bought 8 nxt 2.0 units without lego bricks and lot’s of lego technics bricks – the’re quite compatible with nxt and much cheaper than complete nxt 2.0 set.
    Every week i teach a group of 16 children – we build new robot’s, mazes and ramp’s for them.
    After 2 months popularity of our classes made it possible to buy new nxt unit’s thanks to children’s parrents donations. It’s realy creative and fun, this year we start a new faculty for older students – the’ll program nxt units using LUA language port for NTX called pbLUA -(nxt have to be flashed for lua rom but in can be reversed to original firmware easly) – it gives much more possibility as a “normal” programming language and i also recomend it.

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