I recently put out a request to the group to help develop a new set of articles and projects targeted at younger readers. I used the term Robotics Explorer, which is already in use elsewhere on the web. To be fair, I renamed this to be the SRS Explorer. I would like to take this opportunity to give some guidelines as to what this area should and should not contain.
The target for this material are people between the ages of 6 and 98 who are not necessarily technologically literate. They will have found our site because of an interest to learn, but are not prime candidates to jump right into technical manuals or spending big bucks on development tools. There is a real need for information about robotics and other technologies to help stimulate their minds into thinking about how they would go about building something. I refer to this as Gee Whiz Robotics. Appropriate information for such as section would include:
I would hate to claim that I know what isn't appropriate without reading it first. However, I would imagine that if you couldn't easily explain it to a 8 year old in 10 minutes, then it probably is better suited for the Encoder. In subtle terms, we are looking for more Gee Whiz, and less Whiz Bang.
Certainly, some level of explanation of the technology would be great, but we need to approach it from a slightly different angle. Explaining what a robotic system does is great if it can be done in terms of a normal persons experience. Relying on their knowledge of physics or electronics probably isn't appropriate.
I find the possibilities of this project exciting to think about. I think as a group, we could put together a real first class online publication that many people would really enjoy. I hope you are as excited about this project as I am.
For the past couple of months, we have been having an afternoon hacking session directly following the meeting. This has been a great success, and several people have made real progress on their projects. I would like to make the afternoon session a hacking session by default. So, unless we have other business planned and announced, bring your toys and your tools to the next meeting.