Dash Robotics

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Dash goes to Stanford

Despite our status as Berkeley alumni, we were invited to be the guest lecturers (known as "guest instigator" in this class) for Stanford's EE 92A class, "Making and Breaking Things." The course sounds really cool, and usually consists of taking some gadget apart, and then putting it back together again, as a totally different gadget. We were there to do something just a little different - students got the chance to assemble our prototype Dash kits, and we got to interrogate them for feedback.

Since Dash is a kit, we want to know what's easy, what's hard, what's fun, and what's frustrating about putting Dash together. This was a great opportunity for us, and a big thanks goes out to the instructors David Sirkin and Wendy Ju, and the members of the class for making it all possible. 

Of course, another part of making this possible meant pumping out kits to serve as samples. We've made a lot of improvements to our manufacturing process, but it's still not totally nailed down, so this meant a fair amount of lab time.

Andrew hard at work in the iLab.

 

16 kits!

 

After we had the kits ready, it was off to Stanford, to show 30 college students how to put Dash together. 

Dr. Kohut lectures on Dashology

 

The assembly. No tools, just Elmer's glue. 

 

Overall we learned a lot, and we hope the students had a great experience as well. Most of them even seemed to have some fun! It took everyone about 45 minutes to finish the assembly, and that was with a lot of chaos going on. The process isn't at 100% yet, but we're getting really close. We passed around a survey to see what everyone liked and didn't like, and we're processing the results now. This should be very valuable for making Dash both fun and easy to put together.

 

Thanks for reading, check back next week for more updates!

3 comments

Mar 04, 2014 • Posted by STEM Educator, Business Owner

Couldn’t agree more with David. As a teacher, I don’t particularly love this “kit” version of the Maker Movement. Even at Maker Faire, you walk into the SHED and everything is a kit. If you don’t give design challenges to kids, they are going to CONSUME it and move on. I try to teach my kids to CREATE technology rather than just consume it. There is always going to be a market for people to want a turnkey solution so I don’t think you should take that off the table, but I think you will be more successful if you keep tin mind that the makers that backed you probably want to do a little tinkering themselves! Keep up the good work guys!

Feb 18, 2014 • Posted by Nick

Hi David,

Awesome ideas, thanks! Some of these we’re working on, or thinking about, in the background, and some are new, so we really appreciate the feedback. We definitely want to people to get a lot of replay value out of Dash, and I think a lot of this would do that. Thanks again.

Nick

Feb 18, 2014 • Posted by DAVID PADDOCK

Hello – writing as an engineer and father of a 13 yr old daughter, this looks great! I have a suggestion or two. Can you go one level further, and offer a kit that requires some soldering and/or wiring and programming/testing of the electronics? Or include some blank sheets of structure so we could imagine, design, and try out shapes and configurations of our own? This would be for older kids, but would allow them to appreciate and learn the deeper and fundamental skills to make this stuff happen. Otherwise it’s in danger of being, like so many toys these days, a finite experience. Snap it together, fire it up, and watch it go, is good for a week, maybe two. A child’s creativity is limitless and vast, but you gotta offer a clean canvas or pose an open-ended question to get to it. If a child is just a ‘user’, then she’ll be interested until she ‘gets it’; then it’s “OK that was fun; I’m done. What’s next?” Thanks for reading.
-Dave

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