Brown CS News

Rhode Island Robot Block Party Returns On April 13


The robots return! Rhode Island Robot Block Party will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2019, from 12-4 PM at the WaterFire Arts Center (475 Valley Street).

The event, an expo founded by the Rhode Island Students of the Future in partnership with Brown University's Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative and Brown CS, highlights the innovation of our state's robotic community. Bringing together industry, universities, community organizations, and K-12 schools, it's open to the public and includes numerous pieces of robotic equipment that range from ocean exploration devices to animatronic toys. It was a Rhode Island Monthly Editor's Choice "Best of" Award winner in 2015. 

Recent exhibitors included:

University Exhibits and Demonstrations

  • RISD students demonstrated the rover they built for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. 
  • The Brown Robotics Lab demonstrated cloud robotics technologies and quadrotor and telepresence robots.
  • Brown University Planetary Geosciences and NASA Solar System Exploration Virtual Institute (SSERVI). The SSERVI Evolution and Environment of Exploration Destinations (SEEED) team is hosted by Brown University and MIT. NASA and international space probes are exploring all the planets of the solar system and will reach Pluto this summer. Come see pictures of Mars from the sophisticated Curiosity rover, and share close-up images of the surface of a comet. Meet scientists from Brown University who are exploring the planets and satellites of the Solar System and learn of their discoveries and future plans for human and robotic exploration!
  • Human 2 Robots Lab demonstrated the pick and place capabilities of the Baxter industrial robot, created by Rethink Robotics.
  • The Laboratory for Engineering Man/Machine Systems (Computer Vision @ LEMS) displayed their Blindfind project.
  • The Brown IEEE Robotics Olympiad Micromouse competition held their annual competition at the Robot Block Party.
  • University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography displayed the autonomous kayak and Lagrangian floats used to explore shallow coastal waters.
  • The URI RoboBoat team and the Robotics Laboratory for Complex Underwater Environments (R-CUE) teamed up to display the URI Autonomous Surface Vehicle; a pair of flying robots; at least two underwater robots; and a variety of 'soft robotics' prototypes use for underwater grasping and manipulation.
  • Roger Williams University School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management demonstrated a student built, human scale mobile robot allowing for virtual telepresence.
  • Salve Regina University School of Business Studies and Technology displayed student technology projects.
  • New England Institute of Technology had a demonstration of robotics, quad-copters, and support products.

Manufacturing and Community Organizations

  • Hasbro demonstrated their animatronic toy line, FurReal Friends.
  • igus, inc displayed their movement machine and iglide and echain products.
  • The Rhode Island Computer Museum presented “Robots on the Run” an activity that explains basic circuits and programmable electronics in hobby robots.
  • FabNewport demonstrated ArtBots that create original works of art.
  • IEEE Providence Section demonstrated their role in the robotics industry and professional development of engineers.
  • The Providence Children’s Museum provided the Rigamajig play area which encourages hands on exploration of mechanical design concepts.
  • BLT Robotics displayed a Robotic Vertical Hydroponic Farm.
  • Members of Make:'s book publishing team joined the Robot Block Party to show off projects from some of our recent and soon-to-be-published books. They had hands-on interactive projects you can play with from our upcoming Getting Started with littleBits book, some 3d-printed-in-place objects, and some Raspberry Pi demos.
  • AS220 Labs showed a new line of electronics kits and some drawing machines from the Lab.
  • Robotix Learning Solutions demonstrated their affordable robot that helps teach kids (4-18 years) how to code in an easy and interactive way.

Student Exhibits

  • Coventry: Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School students built a robotic claw that can pick up a ball and a Chain Reaction Machine.
  • East Greenwich: Our Lady Of Mercy School had over 30 students building autonomous parade floats and interactive robotics projects. The students range from age 6-12.
  • East Providence:  Martin Middle School had middle school students building autonomous parade floats and interactive projects.
  • Middletown/Newport: Newport Community School brought students who built autonomous parade floats. All Saints STEAM Academy students displayed their Arduino robots and several other interactive projects. Their Jr. FIRST LEGO League team demonstrated their Think Tank project. The Aquidneck Island 4-H club runs robotics programs for kids aged 9-18. AIR Strike 78, their FIRST Robotics team demonstrated their award-winning robot.
  • Narragansett: The Pier School exhibited classroom robotics projects.
  • Providence: Providence Career and Tech Academy demonstrated engineering and robotics projects completed by their engineering students. Wheeler School exhibited projects built by lower and middle school students. FRC 2780 Robotics Team, based at Wheeler School, demonstrated their FIRST Robotics Robot. Lincoln School demonstrated Tetrix robots built by the Robotics I & II classes, plus a demonstration of our FIRST Tech Challenge bot with field elements from the 2015 FTC game, Cascade Effect. Mount Pleasant High School demonstrated their student robotics projects. Nathan Bishop Middle School demonstrated their student robotics projects. The College Crusade is a community-based robotics teams, composed of Cranston & Providence youth. They demonstrated a rover.
  • Riverside: Riverside Middle School students buildt autonomous parade floats, and interactive projects. Gordon School students worked on interactive robotics projects and a Chain Reaction Machine.
  • Warren: Kickemuit Middle School built a chain reaction machine.
  • West Warwick: 21st Century Community Learning Center, YMCA at John Deering Middle School featured students demonstrating autonomous parade floats.