Last weekend the family attended the first World Nodebots Day in Sydney, and it was awesome!

First I would like to send out thanks to Web Directions for providing a venue and to NICTA for supplying some of their educational boards.

In this post I wanted to write more about the experience from my families perspective rather than a technical view. Naturally I was like a kid on XMAS eve waiting for the event and my son was mildly curious with my wife a little nervous about hanging out with IT people. My wife is an RN at RPAH (yes, she’s been on the show), and probably Australia’s leading Sherlock operators, but has recently been dabbling in HTML/CSS/JS via Codecademy


We arrived just a little early and kind of just stood around nervously not knowing anyone or what we were meant to do, but after a little while it started to take off. Web Directions is in an old building in Surry Hills with old wood floors and a blackboard for a wall. The lights were hang down long fluro tubes that weren’t too bright and had a slightly yellow tinge to them.

We started by watching the Nodebots Day keynote video by Chris Williams which was kind of funny because we somehow managed to get the unedited version, but the way we were all gathered around in this dark room dull lighting watching our supreme leader talk about the ‘democratization of hardware’ my wife leaned over to ask if were at the robot place or some underground anti-government meeting!

Fork and Merge

After that we kind of forked into two groups: those who were new to everything and those who already had a project they wanted to work on.

Later on through the day close to lunch time we started to merge back together again, with everyone starting to walk around and see what everyone was up to.


Our main project was a cheapo radio controlled ‘tarantula’ we bought, gutted and stuck a Freetronics Arduino Leostick into it with a few sensors. We got to the point of wiring up the internal motors to make it scrabble around, but we’ll be finishing of the rest in the next couple of weekends when time is available.

My son was quite impressed by a robot called ‘Weaver’ by a quiet and clever guy called Fernando. We recommend that you check out his work at Weaver the social robot.

Take Away

The first thing we got from this is how fantastic and fun the whole idea and day was. All of us would love this to become a more regular thing. We’ve seen people suggesting every month, but personally for us every 2-3 months would be better.

So what did we get?

Quotes From My Son

  • ”..These people are great, they are interested in each others stuff and want to help and not just talk about why their own stuff is better..”
  • ”..Dad, I want to learn JS for real this time”
  • ”..that Weaver is so good, I’m really impressed!”

Conversation With My Wife

On the way back home my wife started interrogating me about what everyone gets out of this. What do they expect, why did Web Directions host it and why so cheaply?

It was a long conversation, but it was an eye opener for her (and nice for me to get to share) that a big part of the developer/maker way of being is sharing and learning and helping. This is all stuff we love to do and if others are interested we are happy to teach and to learn.

To paraphrase a little she was, “..impressed how people in this community of programmers and robots have more heart than the rest of the world..”

For Me

I grew up so fascinated with robots, electronics and technology my teachers worried for my lack of interest in ball games (don’t worry Mr Reynolds, I now have a Sphero!) so I was happy enough to see that my dreams as a child are becoming reality.

How could I not be content? After all, who would have thought that making robots would be a family event no different from going for a picnic down the park?


If you like, some of our photos are at