Super-Awesome Sylvia's picture

RoboGames 2015 SASVlog!

Submitted by Super-Awesome Sylvia on June 24, 2015 - 10:42am

Hey guys! Here's my second Vlog. It's all about Robogames 2015!

This year I entered into the lego robotics competition and had my friends Schuyler St. Leger and Roger Fachini III showed off their hacks and improvements on the WaterColorBot.


Check out Roger's WCB demo files here:


Check out Schuyler's demo files here:

TechNinja's picture

A Maker Summer to Remember 2013: Part 2

Submitted by TechNinja on December 23, 2013 - 12:55am

Such a summer has been had this last year by us, it’s taken nearly 6 months to get an update. Busy doesn’t start to cover it!

With the creation of her incredible WaterColorBot, Sylvia then launched her Kickstarter to make it into a kit for everyone to enjoy, which then launched her on a tour around the world. Picking up where we left off back in July, just from momentum we breeze past Summer and on into Winter:

Sylvia standing in front of a set of giant rocket nozzles, and a huge rocket body at NASA Space camp in Alabama.
August 10th: Riding the wave of her success at the White House Science Faire in April, Sylvia was given a full scholarship to NASA Space camp, flew across the country on her own, had an incredible, unforgettable time, and even got a custom made NASA twitter badge which she now proudly wears on her lab coat.

Sylvia says: "It was really really fun! I got to meet so many cool friends, and I went on the multi-axis trainer and spun around, but didn't get dizzy. I also did two awesome missions where I was one of the ISS commanders and did a bunch of experiments, and another where I was doing moon mission control in the future. I am totally going back as soon as I can!!"

SYlvia's Water Color Robot witht he words "Thank You Kickstarter" painted on a piece of paper at Evil Mad Scientist Headquarters.
August 15th: We made it! With the community's help, we demolished our goal of $50k to raise nearly $90k towards the WaterColorBot project. Now in December and January, bots are shipping and backers are getting their hands dirty with robots, CNC, and watercolors!

Sylvia says: "WOO HOO! So happy and excited to finally complete the Kickstarter so bots could get out to people. Thank you everybody who contributed to make this goal happen, and for those that got one, hope you liked the cards I made :) "

Sylvia helps solder a watch kit with Xeni Jardin and a fan at the Boing Boing Ingenuity hack day
August 17th: After her return flight from Space camp, we stopped off at Boing Boing: Ingenuity with the WaterColorBot. In the first hour we formed the most incredible team in the universe, with me, Sylvia, Joe Grand, and Ben Krasnow, proceeded to create a Ford XC controlled Water Color Painting hack. We then won first place grand prize (a MakerBot Replicator 2) totally by accident, and freaked out.

Sylvia says: "I still can't actually believe we got the grand prize! I had total blast with Joe and Ben, who are unstoppable incredible uber-makers and I can't wait to do more awesome stuff with them!"

Sylvia talking to a group of girls, Intel employees and the Intel CEO about the WaterColorBot and Intel headquarters.
October 10th: After a quick invite, Sylvia was incredibly pleased to attend and talk to young girls at Intel to celebrate the international day of the girl! She talked all about the incredible journey she’d taken, did some Maker Makey experiments, inspired some girls, and was given a brand new Arduino Galileo board from Intel CEO himself Brian Krzanich.

Sylvia says: "Super cool to meet the CEO and all the awesome girls making fun experiments with Makey makey and scratch, and I can't wait to try to make something cool with my new Galileo board."

Sylvia describing how her robot works to a group of enthralled patrons to the Mozilla Science Faire at MozFest 2013 in London, UK.
October 23rd: With summer over, well intentioned plans altered by a loss in the family, we continued on and arrived in London for MozFest. Where Sylvia and I spoke and presented all about the WaterColorBot and it’s open source APIs, and showed off our web interface demo. So much fun, so many new fans of this little painting platform and the show. Full photo album here.

Sylvia says: "Going to London was SOOOOoooooo cool! I met so many amazing, creative people and got to tour around London, and it was one of the best trips I've had yet. I'm going to make my web game and submit soon!"

Sylvia dissasembles a Cubelet robot at the hacking table to extract a servo while at RobotsConf 2013 in Florida.
December 5th: With November nearly uneventful, RobotsConf in Florida headed up December with Sylvia and I doing a quick Keynote about the crazy adventure we’ve had this year, with her making the WaterColorBot, and me making the desktop software to drive it (Full photo album here). Once that was out of the way, we dove in and hacked together an awesome AR Drone with Spark Core triggered servo grabber controlled entirely by Leap Motion hand gestures.

Sylvia says: "I love Florida! And yea I was a little scared to do my keynote, but me and Dad winged it and had fun, and the rest of the conference was all about making awesome robots, so that's never not awesome!"

Sylvia giving her talk on stage at TEDx San Diego 2013.
December 12: Only just returned, she’s off again to her third TED event, TEDx San Diego! Sylvia spoke all about her incredible adventure so far with the show, and the WaterColorBot from inception, to incredible difficulty getting through iterations, and how she conquers the innumerable hard problems keeping her from her dreams every day (including doing the talk!). Video to be posted soon.

Sylvia says: "Phew! Glad that's over. Yes, it was fun and amazing, and exhilarating, but man how stressful. I think I'm going to wait a bit to do anymore talks for a while. For now I'll stick to fun videos :) "

And that just about wraps up for this year. It’s been an incredible whirlwind of activity, and though the WaterColorBot has been big, Sylvia really hopes she can now focus on more episodes and outreach to teach the magic that is getting hands on and making things.

TechNinja's picture

White House Science Fair & Robogames!!

Submitted by TechNinja on April 15, 2013 - 2:27am

White House? Yes! Robogames? Yes!! Crazy non-stop roller-coaster of life? Definitely.

UPDATE: Sylvia announces the Science Fair for the White House! And be sure to watch the live event at, or at, beginning at 11:30am EDT (8:30am PDT) on Monday, April 22, 2013.

Original Post:
Brentwood School STEAM Day was a blast, we saw the sights, and helped over 40 kids walk away with a brand new mintyboost, and a respect for making things with their soldering irons. Both worksheets used at the event are now available in the printables section. Wrap-up post to come.

Not long after, Sylvia was invited to a hangout to talk about the Maker movement with Tom Kalil at the White House, bringing together a bunch of other really awesome maker peeps to talk about how we can make things better in education with making things. We even managed to get the WaterColorBot to have its own video feed while it drew the White House Logo!

Then only about 3 weeks later, we got one more call from the White House: an invite to their 3rd ever Science Fair, and to bring a project of Sylvia's choice!! Though the date was only a week away. What could she possibly bring? The WaterColorBot! With a few hardware tweaks, and some software help (from Dad, and from Robotgrll for the iPad app), she thinks she's ready.

Then there was the problem of how to fund such a crazy trip with less than 4 days to do it. We asked Evil Mad Scientist Labs and they graciosly promised to match all donations up to $1,242! We then managed to pull together a funding campaign with GoFundMe in about 4 hours, and once it was launched, made our funding goal in less than 23 hours thanks to the incredibly awesome people on twitter and facebook!

You guys rock!!!

You can still donate to Sylvia and the cause here, and extra funds go towards making awesome shows, and getting young girls into tech.

So now we've made our goal, bought our tickets, and now we're ready to go.

If you're in the San Francisco area, come see Sylvia and her White House bound Watercolor painting robot at Robogames! We'll be there all day Friday and Saturday, then fly out Sunday at 3pm and head out to the White House Science Fair. No you can't join us there, but you will be able to see it broadcast live online at on Monday, exact time TBA.

See you out there!

TechNinja's picture

STEAM day, robot building, and new episodes!

Submitted by TechNinja on February 28, 2013 - 12:27am

The new year has proven to be busier than usual, and some things are even getting done, though it's still slow going. New destinations, new shows, new projects, all for the win in 2013!

First up, Sylvia just got back from an awesome week with her favorite Evil Mad Scientists, Lenore and Windell from EMSL. After working out her very own design with the team, she got a little help putting together the hardware, and with a bit of elbow grease and some iteration (failure is always an option!) she's sure to get to Robogames with her very own WaterColorBot! Not to mention our favorite RobotGrrl will be coming in to help with software, so it's sure ot be a winner no matter what. :)

Next up, kicking off on March 9th in Los Angeles, Sylvia will be joining the awesome staff of Brentwood school in teaching basic soldering skills to students, building the Adafruit minty boost at the first annual S.T.E.A.M. Day!

And not long from now, we've got at least 5 new episodes written and ready to be shot! Unfortunately, after a tumultuous December, January and February, my day job is no more, and filming will have to be postponed, yet again, until I can find the money to continue to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table for the whole family. Once I get that out of the way, we'll make time to get a batch of episodes out: Surface mount soldering, Paper Craft Animals, Raspberry Pi, and lots more on the way...

Super-Awesome Sylvia's picture

RoboBrrd to the Rescue!

Submitted by Super-Awesome Sylvia on August 11, 2012 - 2:06pm

While we were at Bay Area Maker Faire 2012, out of nowhere, Robotgrrl came up to us and asked if I wanted her one and only, WaterBrrd! Of course I said yes!

I bet you're wondering what this RoboBrrd stuff is all about....

RobotGrrls robobrrd sitting on its box.

The Robobrrd Brain Board as designed by RobotGrrl

RoboBrrd started out as an interactive robot made of felt, popsicle sticks and an Arduino. Now, Robotgrrl is making it into an easy to solder board and lasercut kit for making your very own open source RoboBrrd!

The kit isn’t quite done yet (it’s hard to put together a kit!), so I just got the wood parts that she made using the laser at Evil Mad Science Laboratories!! Muahahaha!

Sylvia's WaterBrrd in progress of being hooked up

Waterbrrds armature paperclip hooked up to the servo and the wingTo make the wings flap, we used paper clips as armatures connected to little blue servos mounted in the rectangle holes behind the eyes.

Waterbrrds beak in open position
Cardboard and paperclip amarture behind the beak
For the beak, it was a lot trickier! With the top and bottom beak parts loose, I figured out that with some cardboard and a paperclip triangle, you could keep it steady and open and close it. The servo at the back just pushes and pulls the cardboard.

When its fully completed, I want to make my WaterBrrd say my tweets by chirping and flapping its wings twice, or have it tell me the weather and current temperature. The possibilities are endless!
Sylvia's WaterBrrd in progress of being hooked up

For right now, its flapping its wings, beaking around, blinking its eyes, and talking with an old android phone my dad hooked up. The programming was all done by me.

Waterbrrd sitting on table with glowing eyes

I used an Arduino Uno and programmed it very easily. It is just like scratch, except with words and semicolons. The robobrrd will be a great kit and I can’t wait till it comes out! GO ROBOBRRD!!!!!

Sylvia posing with her robotic "WaterBrrd"

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