It’s Alive! Roundarch Isobar UX Designers Build Robots

The Roundarch Isobar NY UX team partnered with the Brooklyn Robot Foundry for a fun and educational team-building night. ?Since there are so many influences in the UX discipline, one of which being Industrial Design, this was an activity with a lot of parallels to our everyday work, from the detailed process of assembling the robot to then designing its final look.

The awesome (and patient) crew from the Robot Foundry brought each of us a toolkit for building a robot and then guided us through the step by step process of connecting the battery operated motor.?As?user experience practitioners, we spend a great amount of time defining and documenting how our digital products should be built in order to ensure that the end PRODUCT SERVES THE NEEDS OF OUR CLIENT’S VALUE PROPOSITION. This was an interesting flip of roles as we were now the ones following the intricate instructions of our teachers.


The robot toolkit


Lee Hillman, Wiley Bowen and Iliana Radneva wiring the battery for the motor


In order to make the robot walk as desired, we had to adjust the weight distribution and position of the robot’s legs. There was a lot of iteration and testing involved in this aspect, with every slight adjustment the robot’s movement would improve – not too dissimilar from how we test, incorporate feedback and iterate on our designs. There was also quite a bit of improvisation, for example Waleed Manzoul, one of our UX designers added a penny inside his robot, which caused it to hop rather than walk. As to be expected, there were also some not so successful trials. At one point I added a spinner to the back of my robot which caused the weight to balance and it would not to move at all.


Matt Drazin and Sabrina Fonseca assembling their robots


After much use of hot glue and electrical tape we were ready to unleash our creativity and design our robots. It was amazing to see the robots come to life and take on personalities and, even more exciting, that with the relatively simple set of decorations provided, each robot turned out uniquely different. It can truly be said that when put to the test our group can come up with some ingenious creations.


Sanchit Gupta with his finished robot.


Misty Bell Steirs with her final design


Not only was robot building a fun activity that helped our team to bond but more importantly it reminded us all that as designers we have the opportunity every day to use the simple tools available, whether it’s wireframes, interactive prototypes or just a whiteboard, and by applying our creativity and imaginations we can design wonderful, engaging and fun experiences.


The final product!

Roundarch Isobar User Experience Designers Build Robots from Roundarch Isobar on Vimeo.

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