The InstaHam

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Presented By:
Theresa Willingham
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Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

It's a work of art that is also an educational exhibit. The InstaHam portable photo booth is intended to be an interactive proof of concept project that we can take on the road to science and maker festivals to engage people with technology in a fun and non-threatening way. The simple drawing mechanism helps to demystify robotics and computer aided manufacturing as well as demonstrating how accessible technology and making is to the general public.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

We made the InstaHam in about a week, starting at the end of May and completing it by the first week in June. The project is actually built around an existing TRS Drawbot design, by Sean Michael Ragan and Mikal Hart, with a small computer and a webcam to create the portable robotic photo booth.

What was your goal in building this project?

The project was originally created to enter in the annual Red Bull Creation contest, in which we participate every year with an intergenerational team of builders. But our over arching goal this year was to create something that would have a purpose beyond the competition, and so we crafted the InstaHam to be an educational exhibit as well as a contest entry.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

It solves our problem of having engaging, content rich exhibits to take on the road that are also easily portable, and different from the usual science and tech exhibits that people see. You don't often get to have your caricature made a home made drawing bot! It makes an impact, entertains and informs - and we can easily load it into a Toyota Corolla.

What makes your idea unique?

I don't know that the drawing robot idea itself is truly unique, but I think the way we've adapted it as a caricature photo booth for educational purposes is different, fun and captivating.

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

The HiTech servos we used in the drawing arm have a ball bearing output shaft for positive centering and reliability.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

We want people to know that anyone can make things like this! Everything we do at the Eureka!Factory is geared towards empowering individuals to be active creators instead of passive consumers. We believe a creatively empowered citizenry creates a good, productive and caring society. The InstaHam is just a fun little project, but it stands for a great deal more. It provides another way to make science and technology understandable and accessible.

How will you use the $5,000 prize?

The Eureka!Factory specializes in work with nonprofit organizations and institutions, and government agencies.Our goal is to help creatively empower people and communities in the new millennium through the development of public makerspaces, educational events and programs. With $5000 we could: *Sponsor more FIRST teams *Purchase tools and supplies for more community based building and training projects *Provide better student training and incentive resources at our Roboticon Tampa Bay event Thank you for the opportunity to share the InstaHam and the joy of Making!

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