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Intro to Robotics Workshop

In June, Redbridge Central Library launched their new exciting and innovative work space Lab Central, where adults and children of all ages can meet to create, learn, collaborate and innovate with new technologies.

During the summer holidays, the library held various workshops including Make:Robot, Interactive Electronics Workbench, Creative Code: Making Music and lots more!

Want to know more about what goes on in a Lab Central Workshop? The participants of the recent Intro to Robotics workshop took some time out of their busy schedule to speak to us! See what they had to say about how they found the workshop and their love for robotics as well as hearing from the volunteers, parents and tutor of the course.

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Robotic Inspiration

Last week we were able to interview Martin King, co-founder of InspireNShare – helping us run various workshops in Lab Central which can be seen in our previous blog post. This week we had the chance to see what inspires those wonderful workshops.Untitled

What got you started with robotics?

My post graduate computing project way back in 1981 was in robotics – I worked with an engineer to create a chess playing robot arm called “Big Ears”. I created and wrote the high level control and speech recognition software while the engineer built the robot and the low level control functions – back then we had to design and build everything ourselves. My dissertation was on the past, present and future of robots and since then I have always kept a keen interest in robotics.

 

What interests you in robotics?

My main interest in robots and technology is cultural; how technology affects us and what it can reveal about us created in our own image and acting like a mirror. It’s always fascinating to watch robots; it’s so easy to anthropomorphize them and also revealing when you look under the “bonnet” and see electronics and mechanics.

Even though I had created the high level control software for “Big Ears”, I used to marvel at how I could speak to it and how it would move and pick things up. When we used to pop the top of the cover of Big Ears control centre and reveal the circuit boards the spell and mystery was broken and the core was revealed, composed of programs and circuits – it made me think about ourselves … is this all we are?

 

Do you have any TV/movie influences?

When I think of robots Robbie the Robot from always comes to mind – this was the robot in the 1960s TV series Lost in Space which, like Star Trek, I can remember seeing during the evenings as a kid. Robbie the Robot was powerful, knowledgeable and helpful – since this time there have been so many robots in movies covering every aspect – sad, silly, playful, stupid, intelligent, good, bad, evil and terrifying.

 

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Can you see these movies and their robotic concepts becoming real in the foreseeable future?

Yes and this is happening faster than we realise – exponential developments in technology have created the conditions for exponential development in robotics – they are becoming cheaper, more functional and more pervasive – the cultural aspects of robotics are crucial. What do robots reveal about ourselves, how do we live with them, what affects will they have on our life and work, should there be any limits on the use of robots – there are so many questions – there is so much uncertainty. I imagine that all aspects of movie robots will be expressed we need to develop ourselves as human beings to determine the best outcomes.

 

Want to find out how you can get involved in the upcoming robotics sessions that we have at Redbridge Central Library, visit our website.

If you have any questions on technology and robotics, or robotics sessions don’t hesitate to comment to this post with them! We will be posting another Q+A blog soon, so ask away!

 

 

 


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Get involved: Robotics Workshops

We had the chance to interview Martin King, co-founder of InspireNShare, about his thoughts and views on Robotics and what had drawn him to it. This week, we’ve asked him for more details on the workshops currently being held at Lab Central.

UntitledWhat sort of skills do you learn with each workshop?

A workshop isn’t a TV broadcast for people to sit and watch, but rather, an interactive experience for everyone present.

Everyone is creative in some way I aim to inspire and to step back and let people’s creativity come out – I learn to listen and to adjust so that every workshop is unique according to those present at the time.

 

What does each attendee take home with them?

People should be able to take away some inspiration, fun, something new and something they didn’t know about previously. 

 

What is your favourite part about each session you hold?

I always leave plenty of opportunity for each workshop to take its own direction and it’s what the people in the workshop contribute that I enjoy the most – their questions, their points of view – I like to learn as much as the people who attend.

The whole session is enjoyable but the very best parts are those where the people who come create something themselves.

 

What do you enjoy the most when constructing robots and teaching others?

Robotics is both “hands on and heads on”. It’s about thinking with objects –  making and programming something tangible, rather than just doing and seeing something on a screen. It’s always amazing to see to see your creation “come to life” in the real world.

 

Are you enjoying using the new LAB Central area for your workshops?

Very much so – LAB Central is a bright and stimulating space – it’s not hidden away but open for anyone to see what is going on – I love this.

 

What ideas do you have for future workshops that you will hold with us?

The robot workshop was a fast and inspirational introduction to robot building and programing that can be taken to the next level in future workshops – going deeper into robotics and programming and broader by connecting robotics with other aspects of technology and culture.

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Some future workshops in the pipeline are

  • “Tech Realities” … a practical introduction to augmented, mixed and virtual realities
  • “360 Media Making” … a practical introduction to making 360 images and videos and sharing them on-line
  • DIY AI” .. a practical introduction to Artificial Intelligence where people can make their own artificial intelligence machine
  • “Citizen Tech” – a practical guide to cheap, free and open technology
  • “Tech Talks” on the significant technology trends of our time … what is the “next big thing”?

Check back on our blog next week for more about our upcoming robotics workshops and what inspired them.
In the meantime, be sure to check out our Lab Central page for more upcoming workshops to attend!


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Redbridge Museum’s On The Move Exhibition

Redbridge Museum’s summer exhibition On The Move is coming to an end this weekend, so I thought I would go along and see what it was all about!  The theme is transport related and showcases a variety of different modes of transport.  As a first time visitor to the Museum exhibition, I wasn’t really aware of what to expect, and I was surprised that everything was extremely interactive providing lots of things for children to do.

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As you walk inside the exhibition space, there are lots of colours and signs drawn on the walls which are actually road signs. There are many huge structures which the children can climb on including a plane with seating for a pilot and co-pilot, a boat which children can climb aboard, and for children that love to dress up, there are costumes which they can wear. There was a train with lots of seats inside, so multiple people could sit and watch a video showing a drivers view of the London underground. The exhibition also includes other types of transport including wheelchairs, bicycles and scooters.

There is an assistant who is very hands on and keen to help all the children, explaining to them how things work, as she did this she explained how real versions of the exhibits would work too and the children were so mesmerised by her and you could really tell that they were interested in what she had to say.

The exhibition offers educational benefits because next to all the interactive activities there are fact sheets that described what it represented and for some pieces it described the history about it so that the children were learning and having a good time. The interactive activities included many puzzles, things they could build and games, including a variation of whack-a-rat.

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The atmosphere in the exhibition was entirely happy and the sounds of laughing and playing was very clear, a young boy called Charlie summed up his visit by saying “it’s fun!” and another young boy called Louis, when asked what he liked the most exclaimed “all of it!”. A grandparent of children playing also told me that she had brought her grandson once and he loved it so much that she brought him and his cousin back again! This proves that this exhibition is not one that should be missed!

Exhibition closes on Saturday 2 September, so hurry if you wish to experience the fun. Entry is FREE.

For more information visit the website

Guest Author: Kate Beard

 

 

 


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Super Saturday for Fairlop Waters Golf Club Juniors

My my what a great day, the sun beamed down at Stock Brook Manor Golf Club for the Semi Final between Chelmsford GC Juniors and Fairlop Waters GC Juniors, for the Essex County Inter-Club Youth Shield  Team Trophy.  But it was PGA Professional Jimmy Burns’ young Fairlop Waters Youth Team that was shining brightest of all.

Vs Chelmsford Win 4 1 Aug 2017

On a blistering hot afternoon against a very able Chelmsford team, the Fairlop youngsters showed courage and strength and produced a fantastic team performance to finish the Youth Shield semi-final with a great 4-1 victory.

The Junior Committee, Jimmy, plus many parents and sponsors at Fairlop Waters Golf Club have brought this team of young people to the pinnacle of their golf careers so far, Gary Godleman, Chair of the Junior committee explained how pleasantly surprised he was to see all of them, yes all of them sitting around a table talking and laughing like good old buddies out on a shin dig after a match, and how very proud he was to witness their team spirit.

A truly great team performance and the greatest summer of golf so far!

A special mention goes to Umar Yunis Guerra of Fairlop, who having no reserve match to play, still stayed out all day supporting his fellow team mates.

What a great afternoon

The final will take place on 17 September 2017

Guest Writer: Jimmy Burns, PGA Golf Pro, Fairlop Waters Golf Club


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Our Community Festival is here!

It is set to be a wonderful weekend with magnificent weather, which is the perfect opportunity to head out with the family and we have just the occasion for you.

Our Community festival is happening this Sunday and will be hosting to a range of fantastic family fun activities.http://www.rockchoir.com

Britain’s biggest choral movement

The Rock Choir is coming to Redbridge! The Rock Choir are described as being the UK’s original, and the world’s largest contemporary choir. They sing all genres of music with their own unique spin, guaranteed to give your ears a treat!

Slam Dunk

Tommy Baker, basketball freestyle professional is joining in the festivities.  Based in the UK and travelling the world for 20 years performing his very own brand of basketball, performing tricks and freestyle moves that have pioneered four Guinness World Records. Tommy is bringing his passion and skill to the stage for the whole family, so don’t miss out on those tricks.

d style performersDance like a professional

Our Community Festival will be host to D-Style Dance, a professional dance and fitness company based in Redbridge. These spectacular Bollywood dancers dance to inspire, so make sure that you come along and bring your dancing shoes!

Brilliant Balloons

Miss Fantwistic is bringing her ingenious balloon creations to the stage. She has the incredible ability to build and twist balloons into creative creatures and structures beyond your wildest imagination. Come down and see for yourself, her creativity is endless.

The Festival also has:

  • Food and drink
  • Sports
  • Gaming
  • Singing and dancing
  • Arts and crafts
  • Plus so much more!

Read more about it on our website and be sure to come down this weekend for a fantastic time.

Post Author: Priya Devandran


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A week in the life of a work experience student

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What a week… Last Monday was the day I finally started my work experience placement, in Valentines Park. I always dreaded work experience after my past experience and hearing stories about how I would just be sitting around waiting on staff and providing them with the occasional beverage; but how wrong I was.

Day 1

Day 1 began and I readied myself for a day sat inside a cramped office waiting on staff, with no real purpose or use. I was taken through the park with my work experience supervisor, and ended up at a mansion surrounded by the gardens of Valentines Park. We began to stop and I came to the realisation that this is where I would be spending some of my work experience placement time.

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As I entered, the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming; offering me drinks and biscuits, I even received my own desk! So day 1 officially started and I began with general office work which was good as it enabled me to gain a feeling for what I might encounter if I was to enter a similar work place, of which I want to take part in after my A levels. Eleven o’clock came and I was told to go downstairs and help out with a school trip coming to view the mansion. This was great, as it enabled me to not only interact with the public but also learn some facts about the 300 year old mansion I was spending my time in. Time flew by and before I knew it I was back in the office attending to folders and organising work for the staff, I really felt like I was part of a team.

 

 

Day 2

Day 2 came around and I continued with office work, even being given the responsibility to count out the money before the start of the day. Tuesday was open day and so I got to help out with showing people around the mansion. It also allowed me to use my knowledge about the mansion and provide them with facts which they may not have found in the leaflets.

Day 3

Day 3 is where it changed. I explored the other side of the park and worked closer with my work experience guide, down in Wash Lodge. I carried out more office work and was even given the responsibility of work specifically for the manager in that team.

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Day 4

Day 4 seemed to be another day, until my supervisor surprised me with a farm visit in one of the local parks which they help run and manage (Hainault Forest Country Park). This was great as it allowed me to relax from the office environment, whilst learning about one of the parks which they are looking to improve in the future. I was also able to see some animals which you wouldn’t normally expect to see so close by, for example the emus and meerkats; I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about this place!

Day 5

My final day of work experience came around so quickly but the fun wasn’t over yet. I went and worked with the final team (Parks operative team). This allowed a gentle end to the week whilst spending some time catching some sun.

I loved the variation which I was given whilst working there and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work around. I know this will help me in any future jobs that I might have, and it’s nice to know that the people looking after our parks and open spaces care for what they are doing.

Guest Writer: Louis Machon