Video conference Robotica Educativa

The first of October we had a meeting with one of the volunteers of Robotica Educativa. Unfortunately the internet connection between Mexico and Holland let us down a little bit, but still we had some questions answered.


Meeting with Cinthia 1-10-15 – meeting topics

This is simply a list of topics I’d like to discuss with Cinthia in our meeting tomorrow. If you can not make it to the meeting please ad suggestions for possible subjects for discussion / questions in the comments.

Our plans

  • Crowd funding campaign
  • Getting into contact with university
  • Getting into contact with Papalote Museo
  • Getting into contact with LEGO
  • Change type of Robots (from mechanical to nonmoving)

Mock up crowd funding campaign

  • What is the target audience for a possible funding campaign?
  • What is the best suiting platform to launch a campaign?

Rewards, stretch goal rewards:

This is basically what a backer (someone who financially supports or backs you campaign) gets in return for his or hers money. Obviously it helps if this is a fun, interesting and robotics related product or service.

  • access to their online course in robotics by Robotica Educativa.

Stretch goals:

  • Number of backers
  • Achievements unlocked
  • More achievements


  • Number of likes on fb
  • Number of followers on twitter
  • Crazy stuff (pictures including robotics, videos, events, etc)

Contact with local University

We have made a first attempt in getting into contact with engineering professors at the Univ. of Guadalajara and Tech de Monterrey.

Papalote Museo

Papalote Museo is a modern and popular scientific museum where kids learn about science in a interactive way. We are currently looking into the option of a corporation between Robotica Educativa and the museum. But since the museums website is in Spanish this will take a while.


We tried getting into contact with LEGO. On their website they state they are willing to help projects and or charities that help kids develop creativity, imagination and encourage learning trough play. We think Robotica Educativa would be the ideal candidate to receive support from LEGO. Basically what I’ve asked LEGO if they are willing to corporate with Robotica Educativa, they could for instance supply robot kits for a better price to kids participating in the course.

LEGO website ——————-

For more than 80 years, the core values of the LEGO Group have been Fun, Creativity, Imagination, Learning, Quality and Caring, and we want to make a positive impact on children’s lives through play.

We support:

  • projects that are 100% charitable.
  • charitable organisations which promote children’s play, learning and creativity.
  • charitable organisations which support marginalised and vulnerable children.

If your project meets the criteria listed above and you wish to enquire about a product donation, please write to:

LEGO website ——————-

Change type of robots:

Robots with actuators are obviously appealing to a child’s mind, but the actuators make stuff more complex and expensive as well. Maybe it’s an idea to look into nonmoving robots. With for instance only a Arduino and a small led matrix (or 3d led qube) possibilities in programing are really broad! And a setup like this would only cost a fraction of the kits provided by LEGO/Makeblock…

2d matrix controlled by joystick (yuotube)

In a setup like this other sensors could also be added, for instance gyroscopes to controle the led by gravity/acceleration…

How are we going to make this feasible?

The big challenge for Robotica Educativa’s is: How can we make owning a robotics kit feasible for the average Mexican family?

One option would be to look into the possibility of simply choose a cheaper products as a educational robot. Obviously the question is; will a cheaper robot be able to suffice in the same way as a more costly one? We’ll have to ask this to Cinthia, our contact within Robotica Educativa.

In the following links you will find some education robots for a drastically lower price than the ones provided by LEGO:

Another way would be to drastically change the view on educational Robotics. For instance not by getting chips and electronic components – all made in china – but by looking for mechanical robots made with parts right out of the dumpster!


We’ll look into this possibility in the coming week. The hard part – which I’m most skeptical about – is to make the robot’s usable as genuine robots. So not just a cardboard box that has the appearance of a starwars character, but a real robot with sensors, programmable controllers, actuators, etc.

Another option would be to get local organizations exited to help for the good cause. Also this week we are going to further look into this option. Two concrete plans are getting into contact with the university in Mexico City, in particular with the robotics faculty. Secondly we’ll be trying to get into contact with the popular modern science museum. As I understood from Benji’s comment last week, they have an area where they get kids acquainted with Robotics.

In Mexico there is also a museum called Papalote museo del nin~o which has lots of technology and cool science tricks just for kids. – Benji

So concluding, enough work for coming week.

Refraction trough a Client Servicer.

As a client servicer I form a bridge between our client – Robotica Educativa – and the members of my own team. In this role of spokesman the things I do most are gathering questions of my team-mates, asking those questions to Robotica Educativa and subsequently brief my team-mates with this newly gathered information. In this iterative process I get to rephrase and reform my thoughts each step of the process. And thus I have a clear view on the challenges Robotica Educativa faces, and the opportunities we have to help them conquer their goals. In this post I’ll try to clarify my thoughts.

the client servicer

Robotica Educativa is a NGO facilitating education in robotics, their goal is to get children – in ages ranging from 9 to 17 – interested and acquainted with science, logics and physics. It is situated in Mexico, which’ economical climate causes the main challenges.

At this moment Robotica Educativa has got her own facility where students come by to be educated face to face. Because this method limits the range of students they are able to reach, they have future plans for expanding via on line platforms. One of our goals in this course is to advice Robotica Educativa on what possible platforms to use, and how to effectively use them.

In the on line educational program the idea is that students (or their parents) buy the course materials themselves. Ready to use robotics kits do exist but they do not suffice in the needs of Robotica Educativa. For instance there is Makeblock and LEGO that sell ready to go robotics kits. But at 350 USD a kit – more than the average monthly income in Mexico – this simply is not feasible.

In the next couple of weeks my team will be looking in to possibilities on how this feasibility problem can be tackled. We will look into the possibilities of crowd funding as a source of income for better affordable robotic kits, and to generate awareness about Robotica Educativa. For instance a campaign could be used to sell robotics kits worldwide and invest part of the takings directly into the NGO.

Also we’ll investigate crowd sourcing, and we’ll try to find other organizations alike. In other words, find a community where Robotica Educativa could harvest and share knowledge.

Finally we will try to make a connection with LEGO and see if they would be interested in cooperating with Robotica Educativa. For LEGO this brings a marvellous opportunity to connect their name to a beautiful NGO and doing so improve their brand image.

Blatant – Sander – Self Promotion:

In contrast to most of you (my fellow students) I’m not very well travelled, I still live quite close to my home ground. And so I’m thankful to all of you bringing all these cultures to me instead of me having to get out there and find them myself. You are doing a great job 😉

The place I’m from is called Zeeland. No it’s not the place they shot LOTR, apart from the name the number of sheep/m² is probably the only similarity with New Zealand.
Zeeland literally translates into sea-land, geologically very correct nomenclature since the majority of the province surface is water. Knowing about my origin being closely tied to the sea could give you a better understanding of why I have one great passion: Windsurfing!

In surfing and windsurfing the biggest fun lies in the game you play with mother nature. Every spot, every day, every session and even every wave you surf is different. It will never matter how good you get, you will always be dependant on the weather, on tides, and on waves. These are all conditions you can not influence one bit. You will just have to go with the flow.

And it is in this go-with-the-flow-attitude where you will find my superpower. No matter how well prepared you are, in real life you’ll never know what is gonna happen next. You’ll be dependant on group-mates, colleagues and friends, and sometimes you will have to improvise on the spot there and than!

PS please excuse me for my late superpower-post. Since I was a little confusiated about our blog contents I started out with a reflection on our NGO task. Please see my earlier post as a bonus.

PPS please cut me some slack when windspeeds exceed 14m/s SW, I won’t be able to have normal conversations, and have to get to the water ASAP 😉

Personal Blog Post Sander:

Communities take a prominent and important role in my life, they make it possible to meet likeminded and enjoy life together with them.

Thanks to online communities – like Reddit and other fora – I can make use of a nearly endless numbers of communities and find enthusiast fanatics in any field of work. Using their collective knowledge and skills creates a huge source of inspiration.


Robotica Educativa is investigating possibilities to use online communities and platforms to spread their educational program throughout Mexican youth. Also they are looking for cheaper Robots to work with.

My first thought would be to encourage the use of Arduino-, RaspberryPi-, or other PCB computer’s to use as educative means. These PCB computers – all results of great open source communities – have several advantages: Open source hardware and software is cheap, and above all the hard- and software is documented very well and free most of the time.


Because I like fiddling around with robotics (on a low skill level…) I’m glad we got this NGO to work with. Though because most of the whole project is still very very vague my enthusiasm has been tempered a bit, leaving me quite confused.