Remote Programming of Finch and Hummingbird Robots

A workshop led by Tom Lauwers


Saturday, January 14, 2023, 10:00 am to noon EST


Everywhere via Zoom


$10 per person
Free for people who participated in the 2022 Virtual Logo Summer Institute

Remote robots are robotics projects that can be accessed and programmed via the internet by anyone from anywhere. These robots use the NetsBlox platform, a multiplayer networking blocks programming environment that is derived from Snap!

The system you will learn to use in this workshop was originally designed as a response to school closures during the pandemic to allow students to program Finch and Hummingbird robots from home. The goal now is to explore using the technology to allow students in distant locations to collaborate on robotics projects remotely.

In this workshop you will learn how to set up and use a remote robot system and meet colleagues who you can collaborate with following the workshop.

This workshop has three goals:

  1. Demonstrate how to program a remote robot, including participant programming of six Finch Robots in an arena at a remote studio.
  2. Provide a general overview of how to build a remote robot. We will use Finch and Hummingbird robots in our examples, but the concepts presented apply readily to any microcontroller or robot that has a Snap! Extension.
  3. Explore the possibilities of using this technology to connect classrooms in different parts of the world.
  4. Meet colleagues who you can collaborate with following the workshop.
Here are some screen shots of remote robots:

Remote robots offer a way to inject physical computing and Internet of Things concepts into the online/virtual space; it provides an experience that is more compelling than a simulation, at low or potentially no cost to the student. Participants do not need to have any robotics/electronics kit at home to participate, but they will get to program a real robot!

If you do not have a Finch robot and would like to borrow one for free on a 60-day loan click here to submit your request.

Here's Tom Lauwers talking about Remote Robots:

About the workshop leader:

Tom Lauwers founded BirdBrain Technologies in 2010 after receiving his doctorate in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. His research was founded on engaging all students, regardless of background, in robotics and engineering. Tom seeks to design educational tools that catalyze positive making, coding, and engineering learning experiences in the classroom. Tom resides in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood with his wife, two kids, cat, and a small army of robots. He would be an invaluable ally in the event of a robot uprising.