This year come test your remote surgery skills with Sergio! Makers Benjamin Lehrer and Jonathan Roach answer our questions in this week’s Maker Spotlight.
Over the last four years we have constructed four interactive multi-media installations. Our first project was a fiberglass Arduino-controlled saxophone with a light up display of the note being played. The next year we made RFiClimb, an RFID (radio frequency identification) powered tracking system for rock climbing training and competition. (We recently licensed our patent pending design to Climbalytics, a company making a similar product). Last year we built Marvin (Mono-purpose Automated Robot Versed In coNnect4), a 15-foot-tall artificial intelligence driven four-in-a-row game which beat human contestants about 80% of the time.
This year we built Sergio. The 9-foot-tall project is inspired by the Hasbro game, “Operation,” but modernized with an electronic 3-axis CNC-style arm to give it a remote surgery twist! Controlling the arm with the arcade-style control unit, which features a live close-up video feed, players can attempt to remove game pieces with an electromagnet while avoiding the metal edges.
Not surprisingly, our projects have also caught the attention of saxophonists, rock climbers, and competitive adults nostalgic of their childhood games, but that is secondary to our main goal: to inspire young makers to dream big and get started with fun engineering projects.
We work out of our home garages in a western suburb of Philadelphia. Over the years, we have learned to produce professional level projects with limited home-grade tools. You can find us online at www.SPOTechnology.com, or in person at local and national Maker Faires.
We share a strong love of problem solving. Fundamentally, making is simply a string of problems that when solved, produce an item. In this way, it’s not really about the end product, it’s about the journey we take to get there.
Ben: My favorite part was seeing kids’ faces light up as they realized that we made what they were looking at. Not only did this inspire us to continue creating, but it excited them to begin their journey in the Maker Movement.
Jonathan: My favorite part was when other makers, complete strangers, suddenly dropped everything to help us fix the bugs we encountered when setting up, and when we were able to help others. The fairs are always a testament to the power of collaboration in the maker movement.