How To Build a Terrible Robot
By Paloma Fautley

People always talk about failing fast, but nobody teaches you how to actually do that, or ever gives you many second chances when you do fail. I’m going to do my best to convince you to step into the world of hardware using MicroPython and simple electronics to build something useless and to see what you can learn from that experience.

Python is an amazing language that reduces the barrier to entry for beginners and is an essential language for most programmers. The language is relatively simple to learn, but with the huge amount of libraries and packages available you can use the same language for an inconceivable number of applications. In contrast, hardware becomes obsolete quickly, making a small mistake can be costly (in time and $$), and is highly specific to each application. Because of this, when I tell Python programmers that they should be building more robots I get dirty looks. People like the idea of building awesome robots, but don’t want to go through the pain of getting started. In my talk I want to share some tips for learning to be fluent in hardware using MicroPython and simple prototyping techniques.

After my talk you should know: 1. What MicroPython is and how you can implement it 2. How to write a simple MicroPython program 3. How to hook up simple sensors and actuators 4. Additional resources to learn more

Paloma Fautley

Paloma earned a Bachelor's of Science in Robotics Engineering from University of California, Santa Cruz and is currently employed as a Member of Technical Staff at PARC. As the host of Maker Camp she shared her knowledge of STEM and fostered a community of young makers from around the world to start experimenting with new technology in a supportive environment. She has a passion for building terrible robots and helping other do the same.

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