Get Your Bot On! 2014: “Positronic” – A Weekend of Creativity and Ingenuity

We had an amazing turnout for our Robotics Hackathon November 14-16, 2014! 75 participants in 19 different teams built robots for an entire weekend.  Our theme this year was “Positronic: Robots and Brains” and teams were challenged to come up with a robot related to this this theme in some way.  Special prizes were awarded for robots that addressed the challenges of aging at home and coping with dementia and there was an incredible number of creative solutions to this problem.

Each team was given a kit of technology including a microcontroller, sensors, motors and electronic parts.  XYZ Interactive  donated one of their GestureSense sensors for each kit,  technology not yet available on the market but soon to be released for makers to integrate into their inventions.

Our sponsor Meccano provided their model kits for the robot chassis. Their kits gave our robohackers a platform to build their robot on. The teams were resourceful, merging Meccano, craft materials and 3D printed parts into smart pets that help the elderly, futuristic robotic arms, one team even converted a piñata into a robotic pill dispenser.

We had a stellar panel of guest judges. Our special thanks to Sabrina Greupner, Manager of the Weston Family Innovation Centre at the Ontario Science Centre, Alex Mihailidis and Rosalie Wang from IATSL, Professor Norman T. White from the Radio Television Arts Department of Ryerson University, Nick Pagee Curator of the TIFF Kids Digi Play Space, and Ziya Tong from Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet!


Judges Sabrina Greupner, Norman White, and Nick Pagee.

GYBO2014 Judges

Judges Rosalie Wang, Alex Mihailidis, and Ziya Tong.

This year we introduced two new categories of robohackers: corporate teams and family teams. Our Corporate Innovation Challenge invited corporations to send teams of employees with diverse skills and backgrounds to work together for the weekend. Autodesk and Manulife sent teams to participate in the Challenge. Both teams transformed their ideas into working prototypes in just one weekend while developing their team-building and innovation skills. We would like to thank Autodesk and Manulife for being part of our robohacking weekend.


Team Manulife hard at work.



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One Day More!


With the second day of this outstanding Robotics Hackathon coming to an end, and the robohackers one step closer to victory, many memories have already been made and greatness made possible. Many participants walked into the weekend with absolutely no experience and have already learned so much, making them one step closer to becoming Arduino experts. We have seen many talents put together and unbelievable achievements made, and we still haven’t heard the full story of each robot! Having said that, everyone could not be more excited to watch all the presentations tomorrow and crown the winners of each category.

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TweetBeam: Engaging our Robohackers through Social Media

Get Your Bot On! is passionate about innovative, new tech and we are very excited to partner with TweetBeam to create a twitter wall during and after our robotics hackathon. TweetBeam is an Amsterdam-based company that has transformed the way social media can be displayed. This platform allows you to engage with your audience and make them an interactive part of your event. Here’s how it works, TweetBeam streams from hash tags and/or accounts which can be displayed on multiple screens. You are also be able to link the interactive display on your website to share with others!  Innovative isn’t it?

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Maker Profile: Ankit Guglani

To many, hackathons are a way for experienced attendees to expand their prior knowledge by getting their hands dirty. Get Your Bot On! Is trying to abolish that mentality by creating a hack environment where all people of various career or educational backgrounds, and no experience necessary, can get their hands dirty in order to learn new things. Akit Guglani is a prime example of this who never got his hands on Arduino until he attended the 2012 Get Your Bot On! Robotics Hackathon. Ankit stated in a recent interview with me the following:

“At that time, I had absolutely no Arduino experience and it was something really cool, so I just wanted to learn. What I enjoyed the most about it was that it was different than other Hackathons; it wasn’t just on you as a person, but there were mentors at hand to help out.”

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InteraXon | Brain Sensing Technologies will be providing 3 Muse Brain Sensing Headbands for Robohackers to try

Get Your Bot On! thanks its corporate sponsors for their contributions to the upcoming robotics hackathon “Positronics: Robots and Brains” (November 14-16 at the Ontario Science Center).

We’re very pleased to announce that InteraXon — the Toronto-based braiMuseConnectnwave sensing technology company — will be lending 3 Muse brain sensing headbands to participants of “Positronic: Robots and Brains.” This is a special chance for robohackers to explore the leading edge of human robot interactive technology. Teams will be able to incorporate Muse into their robot prototypes and investigate new ways of controlling and interacting with robots. InteraXon representatives will be available on site to help teams integrate Muse into their projects.

MuseInteraXon | Brain Sensing Technologies has been in the news a lot lately. After a successful 2012 Indiegogo campaign, which raised nearly $300,000, they’ve shipped their first prototypes to users. To learn more about InteraXon, Muse, and CEO & Co-Founder Ariel Garten see this recent article in the Globe.

Robohackers can view the Muse specifications and developer kit here.



#GYBO2014 Prizes – Win $5000 Internship from IATSL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Get Your Bot On! is thrilled to have the Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab (IATSL) as our Gold Sponsor for the Get Your Bot On! Robotics Hackathon “Positronic: Robots and Brains” ( ).

The IATSL’s goal is to develop zero-effort technologies that are adaptive, flexible, and intelligent, to enable users to participate fully in their daily lives. The IATSL is located in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto and at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute as part of the Artificial Intelligence & Robotics in Rehab Team. One area of research at the lab is exploration of the use of robotics for ageing in place. The team develops intelligent, mobile robots that can engage elderly adults and help them stay at home and live independently while dealing with the challenges of the onset of dementia or loss of abilities.

As part of their commitment to this growing field, and in support of the GYBO theme for 2014, the IATSL has offered the winning team of robohackers an internship at the lab, which includes a $5000 stipend.

To qualify, robots should relate to the theme of the hackathon and complement the lab’s focus of technologies for ageing in place, mobile social robots, and assistive technologies.

The winning team will work at the lab and have access to mentorship and expertise from the lab’s director Alex Mihailidis as well as his outstanding team of graduate students and professionals.
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Get Your Bot On! is back for 2014 with “Positronic: Robots and Brains” November 14-16, 2014

Get Your Bot On! “Positronic: Robots and Brains” is presented in partnership with the Ontario Science Centre. That’s right! This year’s theme is brains. Robots have brains. And robots help people. This year we’ll pay special attention to the types of robots that will help us as we grow old, enable us to live independently, keep us company and help us as our brains fail us. This by no means will limit the types of robots you can build but we’ll have special experts helping us understand the challenges and opportunities for robots in this area.

We are thrilled that this event will be hosted at the Ontario Science Centre and that the Centre is simultaneously presenting their Robots Rule festival, the largest celebration of robotics in the region.

Registration is open – and we are offering early bird rates until October 1. You can register here.

We also have a number of new partnerships we are working on and will announce details shortly:

  • The Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Research Lab develops zero-effort technologies that are adaptive, flexible, and intelligent, to enable users to participate fully in their daily lives. Check out the great work at IATSL here:
  • XYZ Interactive has joined us as our first partner in the new Technology Partner program. Check out their technology incorporated into the new MIP robot by Wow-Wee and the Lexus RX350 demonstrator vehicle:

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Get Your Bot On! 2012 Team and Winners

Get Your Bot On! 2012 Winning Robots: Lady Sterling, Emocat and Ike

Preparations for Get Your Bot On! 2014  are well underway but we haven’t even told you which teams won last year and what bots they made.

We had over 60 participants for the 2012 hackathon. Artists, engineers, designers and programmers all came together for the weekend to build prototypes of their robot ideas. The weekend kicked off at the Idee offices where participants had a preview of the kit, shared their robot ideas and formed teams. They worked Saturday and part of Sunday on their bots with the help of our mentors and with help from each other. The collaboration was amazing.

Thanks to our sponsors there were delicious meals, snacks, and beer. Our numerous volunteers made sure everything went smoothly and everyone had what they needed.

The bots were judged based on three categories, Design, Innovation and Technology.  Every team, regardless of previous experience and skill,  created a moving bot. It was truly impressive!

The Design category was dominated by Lady Sterling, who may be the world’s first cocktail party robot created by Stefanie Hutka (@StefanieHutka) and Ross McKegney (@rossmckegney). Lady Sterling uses sensors and motors to listen and react to the environment around her. Stefanie a neuroscientist, explained the team was trying to explore the processes by which we filter multiple audio sources  in an environment such as a cocktail party in order to focus on specific interactions. During the building phase, Lady Sterling was already the life of the party with Stefanie providing live music to help with debugging.

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Special Thanks to our 2012 Get Your Bot On! Mentors

Without mentors there would be no hackathon.   We thank them all for their time and for working closely with our participants. We received amazing feedback from all the robohackers, all were grateful you were there. Many of them would not have been able to demo on Sunday without your guidance.

We hope you will join us again in the future!

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