We've got the best of intentions to learn new things and have a blast making stuff. So, where do we begin? We want to build amazingly cool robots that do wicked awesome stuff, but that's just not realistic. He's eleven years old and, even though I am a capable programmer, I work in marketing. We need to start small and work our way up to amazing.
I came across a very easy robot drawing tutorial for kids at Art for Kids! So, I asked the kids to draw up some ideas of what robots were and what they might be made to do. They dreamed up robotic claws, trash collectors, flying bots, and more. The ideas were great, but not entry level projects. I suppose we could find something as a kit that we could assemble, but I'm hoping we can gradually learn about individual components as we build rather than use a kit that uses them all. We might easily end up following assembly instructions blindly and get to a finished project without knowing how it works. Boring!
We went to our local public library to see if they had any books that might get us going. There were a couple that were a bit outdated but still interesting enough. For myself, I checked out “The Robot Builder's Bonanza: 99 Inexpensive Robotics Projects” by Gordon McComb. Alex went old-school on me and got Robots, circa 1982 by Hilary Henson. It gives a history of robotics beginning with early automatons which fascinated him right away.
So, I've got a few ideas to get us going, but the road is wide open after that. Any suggestions?