Born and bred.
I always set myself up for failure. I always have a Plan B. I always figure someone will let me down - hard - and that I will fall flat on my face.
But I'm so. Totally. Wrong.
So lately my Little Prince is really into SCIENCE.
"I'm going to be a scientist someday, Mom. Actually. I think I'm one now."
He's always pondering around the house, doing "'spearaments" and drawing elaborate designs for his inventions.
Recently he took it upon himself to make a robot. Not having much luck with cardboard, he appealed to me to write to a REAL scientist. The level of begging and insistence was such that I had to give in.
The letter written:
Dear Scientist - Can you make a robot that will do what I say? I want him toLittle Prince was absolutely convinced that a 20 foot robot would appear on the doorstep the next morning.
be 20 feet tall. Also, how do you be a scientist? Do you make stuff? That's
it! Oh, and one more thing. I'd like him to be gray with two hands that can
move and can make stuff and turn into stuff. And he needs to be nice and
obedient. And maybe build a robot school that teaches robots to be good. Okay?
(dictated word for word by his mom, Becky ;o)
I, of course, set him up to fail:
"Scientists are really busy, sweetheart. He may take a while to write back. He may not even write back at all. We just have to be patient."
But the jokes on me. Because the very next day, waiting in my inbox was the following:
Thanks for submitting your question to theSee that? People. . Some of us here at the MadSci Network do build robots, and some of us use them in our work. PRETTY MUCH ROCK.
However, *you* can build robots yourself (probably with a little help from your mom). There are many robot kits available for young students like yourself to learn about building and programming robots. One that I am aware of is the " " system (I'm not endorsing this product, but I know that we have received many questions about it here at MadSci). You can find more about this system here:
And you can read this answer in our archives about some other robotic kits:
When *I* was only a little older than you, I wanted to build robots too. I got my dad to buy me a book (I still have it) called "How to Build a Computer Controlled Robot", by Tod Loofbourrow. I never did build a robot, but I learned a lot from reading that book. See: http://www.amazon.com/How-build-computer-controlled-robot-Loofbourrow/dp/0810456818
Also, you should know that most robots are not shaped like people. We need robots to do things that people cannot or do not want to do, and so they are often shaped very differently from people. In my work, I use two robots (called a BeeBlot and an AutoReli) that move liquids around for me so that I can go and do other things. You can see a picture of the BeeBlot robot here: http://www.beerobotics.com/products_beeblotnh.asp
It doesn't look much like a person does it? :)
In order to become a scientist, I had to go to school for a while. I went to elementary school (like you), and then junior high-school, high-school, and then college, and then after college I went to graduate school to earn my . All together, that was 23 years of school! But it was in school that I learned everything I need to know to be come a scientist. So, if you want to be a scientist, and I hope you do, because we always need more scientists, do your best in school, and be sure to ask your teacher if you don't understand something. Of course, you can always ask us too. :)
I don't build robots in my work, but I do make computer programs, which are the things that tell robots what to do. The interesting thing about robots is that they don't have to go to school to learn to be good -- you just have to write a program that tells them to be good, and then you can give that program to all the robots!
So, I hope that this answers your questions, but if it doesn't, feel free to send us some more!
Steve Mack, Moderator MadSci Network
And Little Prince is still floating.