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Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

STEM$show=/search/label/stem

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In recent years there is an increased focus in these areas of study. We like to include Art and Design too, so we often talk about STEAM (A stands for Art). At Tech Age Kids we believe Coding is a new literacy and children need to understand how technology works, practice making skills and grow in their curiosity to make a better future for us all.

CODING$show=/search/label/coding

Coding is increasingly being recognised as an important skill for children to learn. Some will learn to code at school or at a coding club, but it's brilliant if they get support at home too.

ELECTRONICS$show=/search/label/electronics

We think it's really important for kids to get hands-on with electronics and learn how to make circuits and write code to control hardware. Younger kids can start with conductive playdough. For kids who like to combine craft and tech, littleBits are fab. And we love SAM Labs wireless electronics components for making it easy for kids to make Internet of Things inventions. Lots of electronics kits for kids have support for the Arduino microprocessor environment. The DuinoKit Jr is one of our favourites. Arduino is a fab skill for older kids and teens to develop.

ROBOTICS$show=/search/label/robotics

We love robots at Tech Age Kids, especially programmable ones. We've got lots of them and write reviews and projects that use them. Our programmable robots for kids buying guide is a good place to start if you're not sure what's available. Roby the mBot Meccano robot dog is one of our popular projects and has been with us to lots of events. Our Ozobot LEGO trailer is fab for kids who love LEGO and robots.

MAKING AND CRAFT$show=/search/label/making

We're advocates of the creative use of technology, but this needs to be balanced with developing physical skills such as papercraft, woodwork, clay modelling, technical drawing and soldering. If children don't develop these skills as they grow up then physical making projects can become frustrating rather than fun. The Maker Community uses the term 'making' as a broad term to include all sorts of artisan skills or craft activities. Being able to make things can lead to life-long hobbies or even careers. It's a great feeling to be able to take a project from an idea in your head to a real object that does something. We're particularly interested to explore products that combine maker skills with tech skills such as electronics but others focus purely on the physical making skills that are still important to modern making.

LEGO Tapping Fingers with Edison Robot


On a recent visit to London my son and I were fascinated by a tapping fingers automaton in the window of a shop. We thought it would be good to try and recreate the mechanism when we got home. We've been wanting to do more LEGO Technic building since my older son built the awesome Sisyphus kinectic sculpture from JKBrickworks.


Hand Automaton Inspiration


We took a video of the automaton in action so we could study its movement. This model was created by Nik Ramage as is based on a cast of his own hands, it's commercially available from Laikingland who make awesome kinetic sculptures.

It's a classic camshaft mechanism with four cams around a shaft. Camshafts are commonly used in engines to turn valves on an off with precise timing. It's a useful technique to learn.


LEGO Technic Version

In LEGO Technic we don't have much choice about the positioning of the cams so we placed them sequentially at 90 degrees to each other. This means that we'll have a continuous, equally spaced motion rather than the tapping and then rest of the Laikingland model. 

Next we needed to create the fingers for the cams to tap. There are some LEGO Technic pieces that look just like fingers so we mounted four of those on another shaft with spacers.

Edison Robot Powered

We could just have turned the shaft with a handle, but we thought it would be more fun to control them with a motor like the automaton we had seen. 
We've been trying out the Edison mini robot and it looked perfect for this job. The wheels on the Edison robot can be removed so that you can insert a LEGO Technic shaft. Perfect. 

The Edison allows you to attach LEGO under its body so we built it up onto a platform. There are other Technic-compatible attachment points on the body of Edison so my older son was able to quickly come up with a way to mount the 'hand' securely. 

The default speed of the motors is too fast for turning the shaft and made the fingers fly up into the air! So we added some programming to slow the motor down (it stops when you press the circle button.)



It's not as stylish as the original! But we were really pleased with the result. 



Edison is looking like a fab little robot for making LEGO contraptions. It can detect obstacles and claps and has light sensors so there's lots of scope for creating interactive robots. 

We have LEGO Power Functions, but that doesn't give you as much capability. We also have LEGO Mindstorms, but my older son is rather attached to his Fenrir wolf-bot and wasn't going to sacrifice it for this project!

Edison is a fab addition to my kids LEGO Technic making. We'd definitely recommend this robot for kids who have a big LEGO collection to encourage them to get the most from it. The compact size means that it's at the right scale for their everyday creations. 

Edison have two books that explain how to make an awesome digger and drawing machine which each use two Edison robots plus the LEGO Technic 42032: Compact Tracked Loader set. The LEGO Edison model instructions are available free.

See also:



Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: LEGO Tapping Fingers with Edison Robot
LEGO Tapping Fingers with Edison Robot
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2016/10/lego-tapping-fingers-with-edison-robot.html
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