National Robotics Week at the MSI Chicago

National Robotics Week started on Saturday, April 6 with many showcases and activities running throughout the day at the Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago. Roboweek will continue until Sunday, April 14.

We could not miss it because

  1. my son is crazy about robots and my daughter is influenced by her big brother.
  2. we recently got our family membership for MSI Chicago.

My son took a Robotics Workshop as an after school program at his school, held by Robot City Workshop. They built 3 robots and he loved it.

We missed Murata Boy, the robot that can ride bicycles but the kids were able to watch, interact with and play on-hands with many robots. We watched some of the teams’ robot demonstrations as well. Then we drifted towards the other sections of the museum, which my kids love.

Here are some pictures from the Roboweek at MSI Chicago:

Controlling a robot made by a robotics team.
Paro Therapeutic Robot
PLEO: a robotic pet dinosaur
Inside of PLEO
Playing with Cubelets. These were really cool. Very similar to littlebits if you are familiar. Kind of cube versions of snapcircuits.
HAL Suit: The Hybrid Assistive Limb (also known as HAL) is a powered exoskeleton suit developed by Japan’s Tsukuba University and the robotics company Cyberdyne. This was very impressive.

Kids loved Sphero most, of which I haven’t taken any photos while they were playing. The (most probably MSI) staff in charge of the on-hand robots were really interactive, asking questions, making the players to think about ways to improve robots and creating different things. We talked about different uses of robots such as fun and games, research, health, accessing remote areas humans cannot enter etc.

My daughter got to play with the robots as well, and saw the female robotic team members, which was important for me. Some of the stuff his brother takes interest in, are immediately labeled as “boy stuff” so she keeps her distance. I want her to break down the gender associations that would limit her.

If we have time, we might drop by the BotBall Championship on Sunday, April 14, thanks to our MSI Chicago membership.


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