How our friendship with Robby commenced. A trip down the memory line.

An article written by Vasu and other volunteers in the SAP Magazine.

I have been a volunteer with the Spastics Society of Karnataka since 2004. Just like me, likeminded people mostly working in various IT companies get together to make a difference in the lives of some wonderful kids
studying in the Spastics Society. We arrange recreation classes by putting together various activities including playing games, quizzes, dumb charades, twenty questions, antakshari and helping the kids participate in
competitions. In addition to that, we also organize visits to Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and catch up with all latest movies.
The most important aim of the recreation class is to provide the kids from SSK ample opportunities to compete with normal kids and to showcase their talents and send a strong signal to all other participants and audience that we are not far behind. This year we decided to take recreation classes a step ahead by deciding to take part in the First
Lego League competitions that were organized by SAPPORT (CSR initiative of SAP Labs India).

The kids were very enthusiastic about this robot making venture when they first got to know about it. There was not even of speck of doubt in the minds that they can do it. The first few days were spent in understanding the
robot and learning about FLL. Our initial sessions were trying to make Robot go from the class room to the Principals Room and see if it is occupied or closed. If the Robot reported came back saying that principal is not there, they were ready to run out of class!

Our naming of the Robot was again democratic process, and we decided to honor Asimov, naming “Robby”, that baby-sitter Robot from I, ROBOT. In fact, they decided to add eBot suffix to the Robby, and callRobby, the eBot as it was environment friendly.*

We began with watching videos on previous year’s FLL, the missions for Power Puzzle and few others on Energy Awareness. We then took up small missions and a bunch of kids worked on the programs and the remaining lot
worked on the model. Our ROBY has taken different personas first resembling a Humanoid, then a Grabber and other forms straight out the kids’ wacky imagination. With the FLL approaching, kids started moving on to complex tasks and exploring the software in depth. For the project we discussed and finalized the idea of the Energy Audit and
got the children from Mantri Classic apartments involved. The kids waited after school to work for Robotics and during school hours they worked with their teachers on the Presentation. And in between were the Pizza
parties, shared lunches and long discussions about their studies, exams and subjects.The final day was the icing on the cake. All their hard work was finally paid off when they came second in the regional competitions held
on Feb 2nd 2008.

* – Well, there is a misspelling, the Asimov’s one is Robbie, but somehow our spelling caught and did not leave us.