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Showing posts from 2012

Dad’s Robot Lab!

Taken from a blog written at Irchester Primary School about a robot activity. For more details about Lab_13 go to:

Dad’s Robot Lab!Posted onNovember 28, 2012 Hi! This is Morgan and Emily. Our Dads come to Dads Club in Lab_13. Last week, we had some visitors! They demonstrated how all of the robots worked. There were some amazing remote controlled robots and a Lego robot. The name of the person who worked with all of the extraordinary robots was Scott Turner. We were amazed by the robots. Thank you for coming.  The Lego robot could be controlled by the computer. The other robot could do handstands, roly-polys and cartwheels. Some were doing gymnastics, walking, bowing and dancing. The Lego robot just went all over the place!

Emily’s stepdad, Robin, said “It was fantastic – I want a robot for Christmas.”Unfortunately they are £800! And Kris, Kieran’s dad said “Thanks for organising the robot la…


Just a quick bit, but Alexandra (can find more at Alex's reflections) talks about her time as a student and includes her work on the Lego robots from the Junkbots project.

If you would like to know more about the Junkbots project contact

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How to build junkbots: Old toys In a previous blog entry the idea of using drinks can and an unbalanced motor was discussed. but what else have the projects participants t... How to build junkbots: Drinks can, unbalanced motor The junkbots project has now being running for 18 months in Northamptonshire, UK. But how have the junkbots being built? A video produced by... How to build junkbots: Wheels don’t always work well Back to the main approach, simplest way and probably the quickest:- A body (drinks can and drinks bottles usually) and an unbalanced motor -... Huxlow Pt 2: Lego Robots  The second half (programming lego robots) on the junkbots project has been carried out at  Huxlow Science College  on 28th February 2011. ... Toys from trash Arvind Gupta has produced a lot of work on turning junk into toys that aim to demonstrate the engineering ideas in an very interesting (wel... Brooke Weston Event Students at Brooke Weston School, Corby have been working with the University of N…

junkbots in northampton

Last Wednesday (11th June 2012) junkbots returned home. During the Inspiring Girls into Engineering event held at the School of Science and Technology, University of Northampton a junkbots session was held.

Two groups of girls from two local primary schools built a drawing junkbots remarkably quickly (going to have to think of ways to extending it!) that
- drew patterns without anyone touching it;
-carried the battery pack (4 AA batteries)

Details of the work developed and a case study can be found at:

Details of the case study can be found at:

Details of an in-school session plan can be found at:

Details of an STEM club session plan can be found at:

If you would like to know more about the Junkbots projec…

Dancing robots

For the last few months at lot of the outreach work from the Junkbots project was focused on the exercises based around turning cans into drawing bots or junk clearing bots. Yesterday (21st June 2012) the robot programming side of the project was trialled with primary schools.

The Northamptonshire based Nene Lakes Extended Services ran "Chemistry at Work Day" event hosted by Scott Bader, Wollaston and the robot programming was also included as well. The programming idea, an off-shoot of the junkbots project, was for the students to programming an NXT Lego robot to dance using only four commands that allowed the robot to:

go forward for so many centimetresgo back for so many centimetres go turn right for so many degreesgo turn left for so many degrees
The structure of the activity was

up to 5 minutes introduction to the activityup to 10 minutes as a group of usually up seven; design a dance routine of no more than four movesup to 10 minutes putting the routine on to the robot usi…

junkbot project: case study and session plans

The results of a funding from HE STEM South West has enabled the junkbot project to go into primary schools and the material to be revised based on good practice in STEM public engagement in primary schools. 

The funding looked at adopted the ideas and practice developed previously to produce STEM activities in this case targeted at Primary schools.

Details of the work developed and a case study can be found at:

Details of the case study can be found at:

Details of an in-school session plan can be found at:

Details of an STEM club session plan can be found at:

Junkbots on Prezi

If you would like to know more about the Junkbots project contact

Wootton Primary School

On the 30th April 2012 the junkbots project went to Wootton Primary's STEM club. The task was challenging to design and to build junkbots that can draw in less than 45 minutes...and they did.

Great work and some engineers/technologists for the future.

Thank you to Mrs Meadows and all the children of the STEM club for inviting me.

If you would like to know more about the Junkbots project contact

Fun - Drawing junkbot

Here is a junkbot my 7-year old son and I came up with at the weekend. A bit of fun - a junkbot that draws based on a bashed up drinks can, pens, straws, motor, broken fan and lots of tape!

The last picture has some of the shapes the junkbots produced.

If you would like to know more about the Junkbots project contact

junkbots goes to Roade

Friday 16th March 2012, the junkbots project moved to year 6 at Roade Primary School. 

The aim was to Look in to how to use electric motors to make junk move, along with the effect of weight, surface contact effects and positioning of the weights. The task was to make something that could move along a table as quickly as possible.

Good example is the 'sleigh' shown above, a mixture of straws, yoghurt pots, pens, plastics and electric motors. What was especially good about this one was - it went in a straight line, shaking its way along and even carried its batteries. This was especially good as usually these junkbots have a tendency to spin around. The group that developed this one investigated repositioning the batteries, thereby adjusting the weight to get it to travel in a straight line.

Thank you to the year 6 at Roade Primary School for inviting me, lots of budding engineers there.

If you want to know more about Junkbots please contact:

Junkbots goes South...South End infants school

This week the junkbots idea were taken to South End Infant School, Rushden, Northamptonshire as part of their Science week....and it was good fun for me as well. 

In three groups they played with:
- The hovercraft idea that Hayley developed ( Basically a balloon, CD and a sports bottle top, that floats across a table.
- The basic junkbot - A drinks can, two markers, broken propeller, a motor and battery pack,
- The new junkbot takes basic the junkbot and rearranges so it stands on the pen tips. Now add a third pen and we have a less elegant Picassobot. Start it up on some paper and (hopefully) watch it wriggle and draw.

All this in one hour!

Junkbot videos - Hayley's work

A collection of videos from Hayley Stevenson's junkbots work including insect-like robots

And here is what it drew:
Taken from:

Taken from:
Junkbots and lego robots combined:  taken from:

PicassoBot the drawing junkbot

Taken from the blog:

Assembly Instructions for the PicassoBot

 Using the template provided, cut out a BASEPLATE for your JunkBot. Place the template on the thick card, and cut out using a craft knife. Be careful not to cut anything that is under the card. Depending on the type of card, you made need to make 2 BASEPLATE’s and stick them together to increase the strength.If you wish, can now decorate your baseplate, but remember that the holes need to be accessible after decorations!Now you need to make the legs. Take 3 of your straws, and place then together, lengthways to make a thicker leg. The end of the straws should look like a triangle. Next, extend the straws to their fullest possible length, and bend the ridged part to make a 45degree angle. Once you have done this, secure the straws together using a strip of tape at the top of the straws.Now, look at the other end of the straws, the one that is …

waste inspires students

A recent article in the Northampton Herald and Post " How a university is using waste as tool to inspire students " by Lawrence John discusses the Junkbots project. 
"FUNNY looking robots called junkbots could be the key to encouraging more children across the county to become engineers, computer programmers or scientists.
One force which is driving this idea forward is the University of Northampton.
For the past few years, staff from its science and technology department have been going out to primary and secondary schools to spread the word that science is fun. By working with schools, the university hopes to show pupils a different side to computing and hopefully raise their interest in what they can achieve" Lawrence John

For the whole article click here.

junkbots the slideshow

Ceisie2011 conf
View more presentations from Scott Turner
Abstract: The School of Science and Technology at the University of Northampton have been working with local schools to create robots made from junk and also to use robots programmed by the students to perform simple rubbish clearing exercises. This is an initiative by the University to introduce environmental sustainability, engineering and computing to students in schools. This paper focuses on the programming part of the project, providing reflections on the activities.