[CLOSED] CREATE Lab invites teachers to participate in usability design research

We are no longer looking for volunteers for this program. Please check back for future opportunities.

The CREATE Lab is currently starting a project that targets 2nd through 5th grade students and is interested in hearing from teachers in that grade range. The Lab would like to inquire about big picture ideas and issues in these grades in order to start brainstorming where the capabilities of the CREATE Lab might be applicable.

We are seeking research volunteers to participate in 4 teacher focus groups to be held at Carnegie Mellon University. Focus groups will take place over the summer and fall. Total time commitment is 12 hours. Attendance for all sessions is encouraged, but not required. As a member of the focus group, teachers will determine appropriateness and applicability of designs presented by the CREATE Lab team while brainstorming hands-on technology project curriculum.

Focus group attendees will receive refreshments and parking compensation. All participants must be educators with elementary school experience.

Hummingbird Makeathon

Guest post by Tom Lauwers, Birdbrain Technologies

Birdbrain Technologies would like to invite Pittsburgh area high schoolers to join us for a free weekend of fun, creative making!

On September 26 & 27 we are holding a Hummingbird Makeathon where teams of teens will join together to create awesome robotic pets. 2 weeks later we will display these creatures to the community at our "Robot Petting Zoo" at the Pittsburgh Maker Faire.

The Makeathon is designed to be beginner friendly; teens do not need to have any experience with robotics or computer programming to attend, just a willingness to be creative and try new things! 

You can learn more and apply at:

If you have any questions please email us at makeathon@hummingbirdkit.com.

East Pennsboro Engineer Your Summer Fun Arts & Bots Camp

During ASSET STEM Education’s first annual summer camp, campers age 8-14 were given the opportunity to use recycled materials and CREATE Lab’s Visual Programmer software to build and program their own robot. ASSET facilitators provided hands on, concrete opportunities for the campers to learn about coding and programming before designing and programming their robot.  Specific attention was given to the components of the Hummingbird© kit; the hardware used in conjunction with the Visual Programmer software, and how these components attach to the controller. Campers then used what they learned along with their own imagination and innovation to produce one of a kind robotic creations. At the end of the session, campers not only shared their robots, but also shared their successes and failures as they persevered in the construction and programming of their personal robotic creations.

Check out their bots below:

Arts & Bots Mentioned in CNN Article

Sue Mellon's robotic poetry class was used as an example of what education should look like in an opinion article about robotics and STEM education.

From the middle of the article:
"Instruction ends up looking different than your father's science class, as evidenced by the robotics poetry class offered at one innovative Pennsylvania middle school."

Check out the full article here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/11/opinion/bare-underwater-robot-lessons/
More info about the robotic poetry class: http://remakelearning.org/blog/2013/03/04/for-todays-students-creativity-matters/
Example bots: here and here 

St. Philip's Arts and Bots Menagerie

The 7th and 8th grade students at St Philip School in Crafton, PA used the Arts and Bots program to create simple craft projects which they animated using the Hummingbird kits and visual programming software. 

Arts and Bots was the perfect program for our project which was a simple introduction to robots and programming. Objectives were to learn what components are needed to create and program a robot and to practice the step-by-step thought process used in programming. The students viewed the examples and excellent tutorials on the Arts and Bots Website, created craft creatures, and set out to plan which sensors, LEDs and outputs could be used to fit their bot’s “personality” and function.  Although time restrictions kept most projects at a simple level, learning objectives were met by every student and enthusiasm and interest remained high throughout the project. Ease of use of the Hummingbird kit and the drag and drop function of the visual programming software kept success within every student’s reach. Arts and Bots is a fabulous program – even the “reluctant techies” loved it!

Summer Arts & Bots Camps



Ages 8-9, Full Day Camps 9 am – 3 pm


Call 412.237.1637 or Register HERE 

June 16 – 20
July 21 – 25
Aug. 4 – 8

Technology and imagination unite as you combine craft materials and robotic components to build and animate robotic creations. Using Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab's visual programming software and Hummingbird Robotics Kits, campers will engage in the artistic side of robotics.
$235 members / $250 non-members (price includes materials fee) 



Ages 10-12, Full Day Camps 9 am – 3 pm

Call 412.237.1637 or Register HERE

June 9 – 13
July 28 – Aug. 1
Aug. 11 – 15

Technology and imagination unite as you combine craft materials and robotic components to build and animate robotic creations. Using Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab's visual programming software and Hummingbird Robotics Kits, campers will engage in the artistic side of robotics.
$235 members / $250 non-members (price includes materials fee)


Robot Programming

Grades 5th-7th, Full Day Camps 9 am - 3pm (extended day available till 6:30pm)

Register HERE

July 28 - Aug. 1

We will only be offering one week of this super awesome session! We will be using the fantastic Hummingbird robotics kit to teach programming. This versatile platform was designed at Carnegie Melon’s CREATE lab.

It is the perfect introduction to programming as it combines hands-on building and art with real electronics (servos, LEDs, motors, sensors) with programming. No previous programming experience is necessary. The kids will work in small groups and create robots that interact with the other robots and environment. Students will not be taking home any projects at the end of the session


Arts & Bots in STEM Class

Sue Mellon, Gifted Support Coordinator in the Allegheny Valley School District used Arts & Bots as a way to introduce robotics to her STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) class. 

Students could build anything that they wanted as long as they met the following requirements:

  • Have 6 moving parts
  • Use a servo in a different way by either attaching a different bracket or by talking apart and attaching with something between the bracket and the servo body
  • Use 6 LEDs
  • Use 1 sensor
  • Have a distinctly different set of commands for the sensor conditions
  • Hide the wires

Here are a few examples from the class:

Dog Bot by Alex

Alligator Bot by Dakota

Big Wheel Car Bot by Justin

Grey Car Bot by Dylan

Children's Books Come to Life at Bots & Books Competition

The Bots and Books Design Challenge, at The School of Information Sciences (the iSchool) at the University of Pittsburgh, saw eight teams of undergraduate and Masters students design, program and build a robot to illustrate a theme from a children’s book. Their ‘bots were judged by Brian Beaton, Bob Perkoski, Martin Weiss and Corey Wittig. Many memorable presentations took place, including a Valentine’s Day dancing Cinderella and a reenactment of Disney’s The Lion King. The judges had a difficult decision to make, but in the end they selected three winning teams: Team Pizza(Ty Houy, Mandy Kendall and Tom Robinson), first prize for BunniculaThe Carnegie Crew (Michael Balkenhol, Georgiana Deming and Bonny Yeager), second prize for The Invention of Hugo Cabret; and The Notorious Cardigans (Angela Bradshaw, Emily Mross and Jourdan Walls), third prize for Jumanji

Here is the winning bot in action:

 The final parts list for the Bunnicula Bot was 3 servos, 1 motor, 2 single color LED’s for the vegetable and 2 tricolor LED’s for Bunnicula’s eyes.