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9 Hacks to Start Your Robotics Journey

A boy building robots with parts.
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Robots – You either love them or fear them. If you love them, robotics is the perfect way to make one of those awesome robots you see on TV. If you fear them, all I would say is that we make robots. It’s not the other way around so you have no reason to fear them. For those of you young Robotics enthusiasts, let’s talk about some quick tips on how you can kick-start your journey in robotics.

Quick checklist for Robotics before we start:

Check through this list quickly if you have them enough in your “Shop of Emotions” that you need to get all the way with Robotics. 

  • Determination
  • Passion
  • Curiosity
  • The will to dust yourself off after you make mistakes and try again
  • Imagination, and 
  • Creativity

As experts would say, robotics is not always very easy. Often you will feel the need to leave things in anger or frustration because you just can’t get the solution. However, that is the exact time that you shouldn’t give up. Take a breath, maybe take a break and then try again. The most innovative people in the world have failed several times before they succeeded, and each time they emerged stronger.

Understand the materials first

Now that you have your emotional tools ready, you have to start with the basics. What is the first thing that you see when it comes to a robot? If you’re thinking about the structure, you are correct. The first thing to do when starting robotics is you have to learn how to make the design. It’s like a chemistry project. You have to understand which one’s what. You have to know how they would act if they are combined before you put your project together.

Find out how the basic cables and motors work, what the function of the battery is and so on. The more you understand what the different components do, the better you will be able to design your idea. Let me give you an example. If you want to create a robot that moves, what would you need? You would need wheels. Then there is the battery that gives the energy. There is also the motor that would convert the battery’s electric energy into the actual physical motion of the robot.

Learning through a project helps you understand big time

Just like other fields, robotics is not understood by only reading pages and pages of how motors and batteries work. You have to get your hands dirty and that’s where all the real fun lies. Go on the Internet and find the simplest robotics project to do. Yes, those are the ones that would not take more than 5 parts to get a fully functioning robot. It might not be the most useful or anything close to what you want to accomplish but this would help in getting you used to how to make a general structure. 

You can even combine the previous hack with this. For example, search up how you can make a simple brush bot. It’s a good start to learning the basics of robotics for beginners. Once you get the parts, you can start making the robot and learning more about how those parts help. 

Go slow but steady with robotics

You don’t have to make amazing robots on the first try or even the first ten tries. What matters is how consistent you are with exploring robotics for beginners. You have to be regular in making your robots. If you have made your robot, then maybe try making another one. Maybe break down your previous robot and try making another robot with the same parts. Maybe add a new part in or substitute the battery with a higher power battery and see what happens. Try different combinations and different designs until you haven’t exhausted your creativity for the day. Like any other interest, robotics has to be nourished. Only then can it put you on the fast track to being successful in making your very own unique robot.

Learning to code = making smart robots

Designing and making the structure is all good but what happens when you want to make a smart robot? The physical design in itself will not allow you to make a robot that pauses when you want it to and continues when you want it to. You need a brain for that and to build that, you have to learn coding in at least one language. With coding, you can feed your programs into the design and make your robot a programmable one. For example, you can build a robot that can move. However, for making a robot that detects objects in its path and stops, you will need coding.

Reading might be boring but it helps

When you are learning something new, always remember that the Internet is your best friend. You have many free books to read and videos online that you can watch if you want to learn robotics. Any problem that you encounter, just search once in google, you will probably find quite a few answers. Watch the different projects that people including students, teenagers and young inventors are making (like in our Let’s Avishkaar community). Read about different inventions happening around the world. Try and visualize how you could apply solutions like that to your innovations. Once you start thinking about the possibilities, it’s not easy to stop.

Learn with courses online

Just like the Internet can give you information, it also becomes disorganized sometimes. You might be searching for how a motor works and you might end up watching how a car is made. If you like structure (like I do), you might want to join some courses online. There are lots of good, open-source resources that you can find for teaching robotics for kids online.

A redheaded boy learns different courses through online classes on their desktop.

Join a robotics club or community (if possible) and/or take part in competitions

With coding and robotics being given the proper importance in schools and the country’s education, ask around. You would definitely hear of a robotics club or community that you would be able to join. You have learnt all these things and tried out robots but learning cannot be a one-sided process. There are young innovators out there who could use your help or who could help you figure something out. These robotics clubs would help you interact with them and learn something new every session. 

Competitions more or less serve the same purpose as clubs. In these, you get to know about robots that a kid is creating on the opposite side of the country. With those interactions also comes a healthy sense of competition. There comes a sense of “I want to win this” which would make you work harder. It allows you to find the answers out yourself. That increases your capacity for research as well as the drive to make a better robot in every version.

Ask tons of questions

You have just started the journey to learn basic robotics for beginners. But as my class teachers would say, if you don’t have questions, then you are probably not understanding anything. So last but not the least, ask questions to your teachers, your parents any time you don’t understand anything. Ask questions in your study groups, classes, robotics clubs. If you don’t have people you can ask questions to, you can always join our Let’s Avishkaar Facebook community. Our mentors are waiting to hear from you. 

If you think robotics is a field you want to conquer, we would love to help you. The Avishkaar Robotics Starter kit is your child’s entry into the fascinating world of building robots. If you want a step ahead of that, our Robotics Pro Kit is your best option teaching both robotics and coding basics so that they can make programmable robots with projects like vending machines, smart dustbins and so much more. You can also check out our microdegree on Robotics, which is one of the best online courses on Robotics. Go ahead and take a look at more such options at https://shop.avishkaar.cc/. Join our fabulous community of young, innovative innovators on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/letsavishkaar and https://www.instagram.com/avishkaaredu/.

I will see you in the next article. Till then, I bid you adieu.

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