Crowdfunding a Robot Arm

Figure 1. The cork wall featuring student work.

Figure 1. The cork wall featuring student work.

Note: This project was fully funded on April 2, 2015.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to fund, through Donors Choose, a wall-sized cork board in my room to display student work (see Figure 1). It is very gratifying for a teacher to know that they have the support of parents, colleagues, and administrators for classroom improvements and special projects. Here goes another one, but I am bypassing the traditional crowdfunding sites because not all the donations go to support the project (anywhere from about 6-30% is siphoned off).

Challenger Middle School is designated as a School of Innovative Learning and Technology and we have really accelerated our implementation of technology-enhanced learning this year. One of the big developments is the launching of a brand new exploratory program that I will teach called Gateway to Technology (GTT) which will provide rich hands-on activities in robotics, engineering design, and electronics from Project Lead the Way, along with in-house developed modules on programmable controllers (Arduino) and additive manufacturing (3D printing).

Figure 2. The uARM.

Figure 2. The uARM.

In support of that we seek to obtain a piece of equipment called the uARM. The uARM is a programmable robot launched on Kickstarter. The creators are are doing a great job on the project and according to videos of the machine in action, the performance has really improved over the initial prototypes. The uARM is controlled by an Arduino, so it will fit very well with the upcoming 8th grade GTT programmable controllers unit. Learning to program this robot to perform intricate tasks (and maintain, repair and upgrade it) will provide practical experience, be interesting and fun, and also be of great future value.

The uARM is $399, the vacuum gripper kit is $45, and shipping is $45, for a total of $489. One-hundred percent of the donations (minus any PayPal fees which are only a few percent) go toward purchasing the device.

Thanks for your support.

  1. I am taking my first class in blogging and pulled up your blog because I had previously worked at Challenger many years ago. I am impressed with your website and the way you have utilized this way of generating information as well as making a place to generate a fundraising opportunity. This is all new to me.

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