077 – Robotics and Farming with Michael McMaster

Robotics and Farming with Michael McMaster

“We were involved heavily with our high school band program. We would do field trips to the east coast and Pacific Northwest with kids that otherwise would never have left Porterville. For a lot of these kids, it dramatically changed their view of the world. Getting out of the local area and experiencing other cultures and economic situations was the catalyst for many of these kids doing great things.” –Mike McMaster

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[In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript]

In This Episode

  • Do you have to be an engineer to make robots?
  • Are there any advantages to growing up on a farm?
  • How hard is it to build a life-sized R2-D2 robot?

Normally on the Table Top Inventing podcast we are discussing some form of inventor or innovator, and today is no exception. For most of us, the word “Farmer” does not really bring up images of innovation, but that would be a grave mistake.

Some great innovations have come from the farm. Every star in Hollywood looks great because of a gentleman named Eli Whitney, and if you visited a farm and got to drive one of those huge tractors, you would discover that onboard are sophisticated GPS systems, computers, and great air conditioning.

Today’s guest brings a blend of down home wisdom and high tech curiosity. He even mentions one of my favorite electronics platforms–Arduino(R)! Let’s find out how Michael McMaster went from farm boy to sci-fi robot builder.

I love learning about the unusual paths that some people take to success. Michael certainly has an unusual story with lots of opportunities for failure, getting back up again, and finding another way to try.

Michael’s experience with practical, hands-on learning on the farm just underscores again that the Table Top Inventing classroom experiences such as Inventor Camp are an ideal place to start innovating. Head over to ttinvent.com and check out Inventor Camp.

Parents AND students both tell us, “We can’t believe how much learning happened in just 4 days!”

 

We want to help you and your kids create the future!

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Guest Bio

077_Michael_McMaster_pensiveMichael McMaster grew up on a farm and learned to build farm equipment for his father.  He joined the R2 Builders Club in 2001, and completed his first droid in 2004. He co- founded the WALL-E Builders Club in 2007 and completed his WALL-E robot in 2012. In 2013, Michael began working for LucasFilm. He completed his Chopper robot in 2014 and is currently building robots for Disney. Michael travels with his robots to maker fairs, toy faires, and red carpet events when not taking care of his 90 acres of citrus in the Central Valley of California. His blog profiles the robots Michael has built to date, as well as the events where you can see his creations in person.

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Additional Notes

Connect with Michael:

Mentioned in the Episode:

  • Replica Maker Part of Star Wars Premier [link]

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Text Transcript Coming Soon!

“We were involved heavily with our high school band program. We would do field trips to the east coast and Pacific Northwest with kids that otherwise would never have left Porterville. For a lot of these kids, it dramatically changed their view of the world. Getting out of the local area and experiencing other cultures and economic situations was the catalyst for many of these kids doing great things.” –Mike McMaster


 

“I really dove into building my first R2-D2 robot in 2002 and finished it in 2004.” –Michael McMaster

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