This past Saturday, I participated in my first International Nodebots Day! I attended @norfolkjs's event located at 757 Makerspace.

The wonderful sponsors hooked us up with Sumobot Jr. kits. The kit is well thought out and the 8 to 12 year old children were able to assemble them much faster than myself.

By one in the afternoon, everyone had their kits assembled and it was time for customizations to give everyone an edge in the upcoming battle! I brought a Sparkfun starter kit so I had an extra standard servo I wanted to play with.

I decided to build a platform that I could raise and lower to scoop my opponents up and easily push them off the battle ring.

Here is the first version of Ninja Flip.

Ninja Flip V1

After a few test rounds, we decided to make the flipper a bit bigger and add some additional scoops.

Ninja Flip V2

Here is my semi-final match against the Jade Menace.

Ninja Flip Vs Jade

I didn't make it to the championship round, but it was an awesome experience regardless. Next year I plan to do a lot more engineering to maximize my chances of winning!

The code involved is super easy thanks to the Johnny-Five written by Rick Waldron. Johnny-Five handles all of the low level Arduino mappings to JavaScript. It allowed us to use this script to easily control our sumobot jrs!

While I had a great time building and customizing my robot, I got even more excitement from watching all of the young children build and play with their robots! They all had such a burning desire to understand how all of the parts worked, how the code is controlling the robot's movements, and understand the tools in the makerspace. Not to mention all of their bots were decorated so well! It is refreshing to be a part of a community that provides places and events for curious kids. I couldn't be happier with International Nodebots day and I hope to see even more families attend next year!