Situated on the top floor of a converted town house on 18th St. NW, just south of the bars and night life typically associated with the Adams Morgan neighborhood, two dozen people chatted over instructional workstations that featured a 3D printer making a business card holder from scratch, robotic arms, and a collection of motors and mechanical parts straight out of a machine shop. The event signaled the inauguration of the D.C. Robotics Group workshop series and the first event at PunchRock Labs, a technology innovation and education arm of the PunchRock co-working space for social entrepreneurs.
Washington, D.C. is known for many things, but robotics is not one of them. The D.C. Robotics Group is working to change that by leveraging the strengths of the area and actively organizing and fostering collaboration, networking, and education for budding and experienced roboticists. We’re software and mechanical engineers, IT professionals, researchers, business owners, lawyers, doctors – all interested in exploring robotics. We want to start companies, solve agriculture and healthcare social issues, automate our homes, teach the next generation of technologists, and learn from our peers. This is the D.C. Robotics Group and we’re linking robotics into the most networking-focused city in the world.
Last Saturday’s workshop focused on robotics hardware, including motors, servos, linkages, and 3D printing. Group members and local innovators David Jones and Michael Armani led a two-hour session in which participants learned first-hand the best methods and components when developing a robot. They also spent a considerable amount of time answering questions and sharing their go-to list of available resources and local suppliers, allowing participants to more efficiently go about the design process for their own projects.
The workshop was a first in a series that will span the rest of year, Each month, a local expert will design and deliver and workshop covering a specific area of robotics technology, such as sensors, controllers, and artificial intelligence. Through Punchrock Labs – our host and partner — we are helping foster a community of technology innovators as we expand the reach of robotics.