My adventures with the MapBot come to an end (or do they?)

After a long day, I’m back at home with a well-deserved cup of hot chocolate. Our mini-expo at Western has come to an end, and our Interactive Exhibit Design course has ended along with it. It was great to see what my fellow classmates came up with. The night showcased the creativity and inventiveness of the students.

Here are the projects:

Two exhibits not pictured here include an original RPG by Joe Fonseca, and an interactive basketball hoop by Joel Sherlock (who was unfortunately not able to be present). The night was nothing if not eventful. I got to learn about subjects as diverse as Rock n’ Roll, East Africa, Civil War era clothing and Andy Warhol; I got to try my hand at escaping the wrath of Mount Vesuvius in ancient Pompeii; and I got to dodge evil ghosts as I strove to save the world from incorrect historical claims! This all goes to show that history need not be learned only through textbooks, and that anyone can create their own unique learning environments with just a little know-how, equipment, and imagination.

IMG_4124As for my MapBot: the class demo went perfectly smoothly. I was pleased to see people react positively to the concept and to gather around after the presentations to have a chance at operating the robot themselves. It was also great to hear visitors say that they had been following my online updates! A few hiccups did occur during the public demonstrations. My computer died mid-exhibit (apparently the outlet I chose didn’t actually have power!) and one of my bobbins came loose. This threw off the coordinates for my stepper motors and temporarily rendered the robot part of the exhibit unusable. However, I was able to do some troubleshooting on the Max patch and I got the robot back up and running. It was a good reminder to always expect the unexpected when it comes to new technology and prototypes. It has also given me more ideas on how I can improve the robot: stoppers to prevent string falling off the bobbins, for example. Once it is available, I will be uploading video footage of the robot, kindly produced by Steve Marti.

So where will the bot go from here? Unfortunately, I will have to disassemble it since its frame, the Phidget and the stepper motors all belong to my professor. The joystick and button for the “control panel” will also be returned. In the process of taking the robot apart, however, I plan to document it thoroughly and create an entry on Instructables so it can be reassembled or modified later. In any case, I will hold onto my Max patch.


Tonight was an opportunity to be inspired by each other’s hard work. Thank you to everyone who stopped by the demonstrations to show support, and thank you to all of you who have been following along on the blog. Hopefully this represents only the first of many adventures in the world of making.


2 thoughts on “My adventures with the MapBot come to an end (or do they?)

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