Friday, September 30, 2016

Scribbler 3 Educators' Courses in Iowa

Robotic's Educators are the best!
Ken Gracey posted a great story here at Parallax Insider News about the very first Scribbler 3 Educators Course - held in Iowa. Lots of great photos are posted too! Here are a few...
 I wish Ken was a bit more enthusiastic!
S3s on the loose! Who left the door open?
Look at these spiro-graphic images below!
I am very excited about this bit of information shared at the end of the article... 

"Are you an educator who’d like to learn about the S3? We’ll be running some YouTube Live sessions for you in October! The week of October 17-21, I [Ken] will be running four one-hour YouTube Live S3 Robot and Blockly introductions. Each presentation will be 30 minutes of demonstration followed by a questions/answers. Details and signups will be posted soon!"

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Disney's Jimmy

A Hybrid Hydrostatic Transmission and Human Safe Haptic Telepresence Robot from DisneyResearchHub. What does that mean? Disney Research has created Jimmy, a robot that moves at lifelike speed. It uses air/water actuators and can operate safely with humans. The version shown is controlled by a human puppeteer and that is why it is referred to as a telepresence robot.

Disney Research is an international network of research labs, with the mission to push the scientific and technological forefront of innovation at The Walt Disney Company.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Different Scribblers and Different Whits

The new S3 and the new Whit*

The old Scribbler and the old Whit*

* Same happy roboticist!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Graphic Inspiration

The graphics for the S3 robot tutorials over a are clever, creative and just plain fun. Thanks Courtney for making these so fun!


Why? I saw this tonight at Target. Size 12 months!

Why are the coolest robotics' shirts sized for children only? This  one is very elegant - adult colors - subtle pattern - super cool! Why, I say, why?

When will this wrong be righted?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

More S3 with Ping)))

Parallax S3 with Ping))) ultra-sonic sensor measure the distance to objects a 45, 90 and 135 degree and then drives to the nearest object.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The S3 in Action

Take a look at these great gifs from Parallax of the S3 in action...

Light Following

Line Following #1

Line Following #2

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


mēbo - Saw this out at Toys-R-Us. Look pretty neat - check out the video below... $149.99 - that price seems be the msrp. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Parallax S3 with Ping))) Hack

The S3 plays with its ancestors using this Ping))) ultrasonic sensor hack and some nifty BlocklyProp code from Ken Gracey.

Here is what Ken's BlocklyProp code looks like - the neat thing about Blockly code is that it explains itself - take a look (I did modify the if do minimum distance in the video example above so the S3 would turn before it bumps its next of kin!).

The loop repeats forever. A variable named distanceCM is set by the green block that measure distance in cm from a PIng))) on pin 5. The play tone uses that variable multiplied by 5 to create and play a tone. Motor speeds are decreased as the distance to an obstacle decreases. If the minimum allowed distance is reached, then the S3 rotates 180 degrees and the cycle begins again.

This complex bit of coding is a breeze with BlocklyProp! Give it try!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What's in a Name (tag)?

I found these great name tags made by Carson-Dellosa at The Teacher's Mart, a local teacher's supply store. I will use the tags at an upcoming robotic's workshop where I will introduce the Parallax S3 to a group of local librarians - who in turn will share them with lots of young people in our area. I made this one into a meme for Robotics Under the Stole.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Feelin' the Green?

Feelin' the Green! More on the Scribbler 3! Great job Miguel! Ken​, Miguel IS as excited as I am!

Eric​, Carol​, and Nikos are too!*

* The exclamation mark - ! is (freely used) is an inside joke - I was overusing it when helping write the S3 tutorials - Ken suggested that I use it less - he said, "We know you are excited..." 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

S3 Fever

Ken Gracey may - I repeat, MAY - be as excited as I am about the Parallax S3 robot! But honestly I doubt it. LOVE the S3 and BlocklyProp!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Scribbler 3 Robot

Visit or and check out this amazing new robot. The new S3 promises to be a goldmine for robotics and programming education. 

It is hard to understand at first glance how many features and how much versatility is build into this new robot - from the hardware itself (including the new exposed hacker's port) to software programming interface - GUI (for Windows), BloclyProp (developed with Google's Blockly and web-based), and the Propeller Chip's native Spin (with IDEs for many operating systems).

I have been working with the S3 for a while and it is a truly worthy successor to the Scribbler line. I have them all and have or will eventually teach with them all - I will be conducting a workshop soon with some local educators (more on that later). 

I challenge you to find a better platform for getting students and hobbyist evolved in robotics - especially at $179 price! Get one and then meet me or any of the other friendly folks on the Parallax Forums - or at Parallax's Education Resource page - or contact me directly - I'll answer any question I can or promise to find you an answer. I am absolutely sold on this little green bot. 

Most of all, have fun and learn something new! What a wonderful hobby! Join me and others as we inspire a new crop of roboticists, engineers and programmers - maybe even a priest or two!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Alex and the Next Mars Rover!

This story makes me smile! There is always a way to contribute. Thanks to Ken Gracey and Parallax for helping me find a way... My story is this -  by helping teach robotics to young people and inspiring them - one never knows which one of the students might wind up like this! Alex's story is below:

The NPR story is here - or listen below!

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Reflecting on Labor - when you work - work for something that matters!

This video about Robot Sound Design by Nathan Brockbank demonstrates this idea nicely.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Labor Day Weekend

Illustration by Andrew Rae; Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis
Is such a picture possible? Sam Grobart thinks so. In his article at Bloomberg News titled: Robot Workers: Coexistence Is Possible, Grobart opines, "In more and more industries, human workers are losing out to robots—but coexistence is possible." 

So - take Labor Day off! Relax! We are uniquely suited for that! In fact - God made it that way!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The S3 and BlocklyProp in Action!

S3 Launch Day at Parallax

To quote that great sage and philosopher, SpongeBob SquarePants twice in one post....

"It's the best day ever!"
"I'm ready, I'm ready, 
I'm ready!"

Expect to here and see much more here and from Parallax - this is a unbelievable tool for teaching about robotics, programming, electronics and problem solving. The possibilities are endless!