About Us

Who and What is Beatty Robotics?

We are a family that enjoys building robots and other electronic projects. Our goal is to have fun, to learn, and to be together. We build robots because we love the fusion of creative design, electronics, metal machining, and software programming. This website is a tech blog for us to share our projects with our friends, family, and other roboticists around the world.

 

We’re located in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, where we work in a little workshop in our garage. Our team consists of my thirteen-year-old daughter Camille (username: Lunamoth), my eleven-year-old daughter Genevieve (username: Julajay), and myself (Robert Beatty, the Dad), along with moral support from Mom and our two-year-old baby girl. We started out when Genevieve and Camille were 9 and 11 years old. Genevieve does most of the electrical soldering and wiring on the robots. Camille loves machining metal. They both work on the mechanical assembly work, refinement, and testing. I order the parts, keep the projects moving forward, and fill-in wherever needed, but in general, I try to have the girls do most of the work. Hands-on. That’s what keeps them engaged and happy. Soldering. Machining. Assembly. Electronic wiring. It’s great to see their minds and their hands hard at work building cool high-tech stuff.

 

When we build our robots, we make the component parts from scratch (with our homemade CNC Mill and other tools), or we buy the component parts from various excellent sites on the Internet, and/or we hack the parts out of other things (we love voiding warranties!). When we started out, we didn’t know anything about building robots. We didn’t know how to use power tools, operate a vertical mill, or even use a soldering iron. I remember struggling to figure out how a common ground worked. We use the Internet extensively to learn and interact with other makers. My girls and I have greatly enjoyed the process of learning and creating together. That’s what this is about. One of the main things we’ve learned is that if you can imagine it, then you can do it–whatever it is.

 

Recently, we’ve begun building custom robots for museums. We also design and build prototype robots for part manufacturers. The girls and I built eight museum robots over the summer, which turned out to be an excellent lesson in entrepreneurialism for the girls. Who needs a paper route when you can start a robotics company, right? :) We also enjoy helping other parents and kids get into robots.

 

The girls in 2011 showing off the early stages of their first I.C. 12 robot

 

How did we get started with all this?

How does a perfectly normal family get into robotics? OK, we were never perfectly normal, but we were pretty close. Then this happened…

When Camille was 10 years old, she started taking things apart around the house. Screwdriver in hand, she opened up a remote control, an electronic timer, and a toy car.

“I want to see how they work inside,” she said. She saw little resistors, wires, and circuit boards. It amazed her.

Impressed by  her curiosity, I said, “Now that you know how to take something apart, do you want to try building something?”

“Really? Can we actually build something? Is that even possible? That’s so cool.”

“What do you want to build?” I asked, thinking it would be a simple little toy or maybe something that lit up an LED.

“Can we build a robot?” she asked.

“Um,” I said, a bit taken aback. “I suppose we could, but it will take a long time to figure out how to do that…” I said uncertainly. I wasn’t sure she’d have the attention span for it ( not to mention that I didn’t know how to build a robot).

Then her little sister chimed in. “Can we build one of those cute little droids from Star Wars Clone Wars?” (her favorite show)

“Well, we can try…” I said. “Let’s see what we can do.”

So we set out on our first adventure. We started drawing sketches, coming up with ideas, and learning what it would take to construct a small robot. Then we just jumped in and started building. We learned about wires, resistors, capacitors, voltage, current, and other electronics. We learned about integrated circuits, electronic components, and software programming on microcontrollers. We learned about cutting, drilling, and machining aluminum and other metals.

The girls insisted that our new robot have a name, so after much discussion, they decided to name it I.C. 12. The name is a play on words for “I see” because its eyes are its most important feature.  This robot was inspired by “327 T,” a little repair droid who searches for Ventress in the “Cloak of Darkness” episode of the first season of Clone Wars.

That first little robot was pretty cool. It cruised around on three wheels, had LED lights in its eyes, and we controlled it with an iPhone using a little infrared transmitter and receiver. Then the girls constructed little trays on the side and back of the robot for transporting Genevieve’s Playmobil figures around. She loved it!

We had so much fun building I.C. 12 that we immediately had an idea for a new robot, and then another, and then another… Now we usually have multiple robots going on at a time because we can’t stop thinking up new ideas. We’ve built robots that roll, robots that crawl, and robots that fly. We’ve done about 35 projects so far. This site contains pictures of many of them, but not all of them.

Although our various projects vary from simple to complex, we strive for two goal: 1. learn everything we can 2. have as much fun as possible.

Here is a page of tips for getting started.

 

I.C. 12’s eyes and head

 

Lunamoth: A proud roboticist !

 

I.C. 12 on our first workbench

 

Comments (43)

  1. Ibraim
    September 4th, 2011

    Great work you are doing with your girls. Congratulations, I hope to have a kid who likes robotics in the future so we can build things together.

  2. Kim Twarozynski
    September 7th, 2011

    Awesome job ladies!!! Love to see girls interested in science and technology. Have you checked out FIRST robotics? Our daughter, Danielle, loves it and it provides her with a lot of opportunities to be creative and compete in an environment with other like minded teenagers. Plus, you get to build huge robots that compete against each other. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next! Keep up the great work!

  3. Sean
    September 14th, 2011

    Hmm kids taking apart electronics, that is going to be one expensive hobby when there older hehe :P

    (My self was proof to that )

  4. Ben
    September 18th, 2011

    I have a 3 year old and I’m starting to think about how to get her involved in electronics & programming without pushing her into it. Do you have any general advice about raising curious kids that are interested in building things?

  5. Robert Beatty
    September 19th, 2011

    One the things I’ve tried to do is to always show my kids how things work, show them the structure and inside and principles behind the objects around them, whether it’s the electronic appliances we use in everyday life or the way the rafters of a building hold up the roof.

  6. Petah
    September 22nd, 2011

    Your family rocks!

  7. Roger Beaty
    September 24th, 2011

    Hey RB, love your site and what you’re doing with you’re girls! A visitor arrived at my site by searching: New Kensington, Pennsylvania arrived from google.com on “Innovation | SOCIAL3R” by searching for beatty-robotics.
    See blog post about Beatty Robotics and Vacuum Tube Clock: http://social3r.com/2011/09/24/build-your-own-retro-russian-vacuum-tube-clock/

  8. kyle "the yellow dart" smith
    September 24th, 2011

    I just found out my wife is pregnant, and now I can’t wait for my kid to get here so I can start learning all kinds of new awesomeness with them.

    I can only hope my kids are so inquisitive and curious — I think what you’re doing is flat-out AWESOME. Can’t wait to see more!

  9. Dustin
    September 30th, 2011

    Hey, what you are doing with your girls is great. I am glad you are getting them more and more into this field. I love robotics myself and was apart of a FIRST robotics team and now a mentor to it.

    But make sure you begin teaching your girls things that are not soley based on robotics. Teach them life lessons through it. My four years in robotics taught me alot about life and robots.

  10. Beatty Robotics - Mechatron - de Zekerweter
    October 1st, 2011

    [...] is into robots. Vader en twee dochters van respectievelijk 11 en 8 jaar oud maken de prachtigste dingen. Alles, van het solderen tot aan het programeren van de software, doen ze zelf. Als onderdeel van [...]

  11. Julie Holtan
    October 5th, 2011

    What an inspiration your family is to all families with inquisitive kids! I love that you start with innocent curiousity and really explore it. What wonderful creations are made as a result! Julajay and Lunamoth, you girls rock! Keep asking questions, the results are amazing!

  12. rob2tall
    November 13th, 2011

    AWESOME!
    You girls & guys rock!
    I think you ought to get the department of defense to buy one of these modified to utilize .308 ammunition or even .22..
    Great design and keep dreaming up more stuff!
    Bravo!
    Rob Breisch
    58
    Everett,WA USA

  13. Chetan
    March 27th, 2012

    Awesome, now i have decided to build an robot by taking ideas from this project……congrats

  14. Sweet CNC Build | House of Mods
    April 20th, 2012

    [...] Beatty family is building a lovely enclosure that will hold the computer and motor control boards for a CNC, [...]

  15. Sweet CNC Build
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    [...] Beatty family is building a lovely enclosure that will hold the computer and motor control boards for a CNC, [...]

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    April 21st, 2012

    [...] Beatty family is building a lovely enclosure that will hold the computer and motor control boards for a CNC, [...]

  17. Sweet CNC Build | Indoor Digital Billboards
    April 21st, 2012

    [...] Beatty family is building a lovely enclosure that will hold the computer and motor control boards for a CNC, [...]

  18. Yalmaz Mustafa
    April 14th, 2013

    I am so proud of you, Beatty family !

    Thank you very much.

  19. Yalmaz Mustafa
    April 14th, 2013

    I am so proud of you, Beatty family !

    Thank you very much.

  20. SHAHID ANSARI
    May 11th, 2013

    wonderful work u ppls are doing here…i was in search of this kind of work..
    MAY GOD BLESS BEATTY FAMILY.

  21. Olivier belot
    July 2nd, 2013

    Félicitation pour votre travail…c est du très très beau boulot
    Bravo les enfants…..

  22. Robert Beatty
    July 2nd, 2013

    Je vous remercie. Nous l’apprécions. :)

  23. LJ
    July 10th, 2013

    Great job! I hope my kids show the same interest yours do when they are a little older.

  24. alberto
    July 29th, 2013

    Parenting done RIGHT!!
    Awesome..

  25. Jim Falbo
    August 12th, 2013

    I teach robotics at Haywood Community College in Waynesville N.C. I loved your video. You girls are an inspiration to woman getting into technology. You are welcome to visit my lab at the High Technology Center anytime.

  26. Catherine Bruder
    August 16th, 2013

    I just heard about this and I am very excited. Being a scientist (turned accountant), it is great to see girls enjoying scientific discovery.

  27. Lucas Varela
    August 16th, 2013

    Im pretty impressed about those projects you have been doing. Congratulations and keep going!

  28. Robert Beatty
    August 17th, 2013

    Thanks, Catherine. I appreciate it. :)

  29. Alexander Grau
    August 19th, 2013

    Wonderful ‘work’ :-) Do your/your girls are interested helping us building a robot lawn mower? We are a few guys who developed a versatile/modular open-source ‘brain’ (Arduino-based) for a robot lawn mower, and we could really need some inspiration for a chassis from someone with CNC skills. Currently, we are using ready chassis and motors from purchased robots, however this project could need a DIY robot (with CNC drawings/plans). Currently, everything is in German, however we are going international soon at a new website.

    Here’s the old website of the project:
    http://grauonline.de/wordpress/?page_id=78

    We would be very happy if you would share our ideas :-)

    Regards,
    Alexander

  30. Zeeshan
    August 23rd, 2013

    Very impressive stuff guys, keep building and good luck.

  31. James L. Jones
    August 23rd, 2013

    Found your site through the nice write-up at Yahoo. I love the curiosity of the young ladies.
    I was a curious kid. Took apart clocks and things (didn’t have electronics) to see how they worked. Read voraciously. Got books and taught myself electronics in high school.
    Fast forward to today: I will soon retire as a transmitter engineer for UNC-TV.
    Stay curious.

  32. Alyson White (formerly Beatty)
    August 23rd, 2013

    Hello- saw your story on Yahoo today and was shocked to see a Genevieve Beatty cause that is my grandma’s name!
    I wonder if there is any relation! Was Genevieve named after anyone in the family?

  33. Robert Beatty
    August 25th, 2013

    Thanks, everyone. We appreciate all the positive comments! :)

  34. Dusty Hung
    October 14th, 2013

    Creating cool blog is not harder than creating good information. But you know that you done both incredibly well. Thank man.

  35. John DiPonio
    November 11th, 2013

    Great to see your projects are going so well! Good job Dad! Eric Condon was talking about the girls bulding robots a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to catch up on what you have been up to. All of a sudden, the FOX broadcast in the science tab was up! Great looking robot! Keep up the fanatastic job girls! The sky is the limit!

    John

  36. Paul Brown
    November 15th, 2013

    Rob, I just discovered you and your family in the current Popular Science Magazine. The article, and discovering you again energized me just as Plexus did in 1995. That your girls are brilliant, inventive, and utterly amazing, is no surprise to me.
    Pushing 92 now, I think about the future of our country and our culture finding much that saddens me. I also find hope and inspiration in technology and talent in young minds like your amazing daughters.

    With best regards,

    Paul and Barbara

  37. lasik san diego chargers
    February 7th, 2014

    Really interesting projetcts! Would you be interested in taking on Robotics projects for private firms?

  38. admin
    February 7th, 2014

    Lasik: Yes, we do build robots for firms and individuals, as well as museums. Use the Contact Us form. Let us know what kind of thing you’re interested in. —Robert

  39. Jeremy Cook (@JeremySCook)
    March 8th, 2014

    You guys are located in Asheville? Very cool – I live in Seneca, SC – not too far away. I thought your Aluminalis was a really excellent build – I’ve actually been working on something based on the same linkage system here: http://www.jcopro.net/2014/03/08/four-leg-mountainbeest/

    I don’t suppose you guys will be making an appearance at the NC Maker Faire or the Columbia, SC maker faire? I’m debating going to or possibly showing at one or both.

  40. Robert
    March 8th, 2014

    Jeremy: Thank you. Hello to Seneca! Unfortunately, we won’t be going to the NC Maker Faire.

  41. Troy
    August 27th, 2014

    Have you guys looked into soft robotics? McKibben air muscles might be fun!

  42. Robert
    August 28th, 2014

    No, we’ve not looked into McKibben air muscles yet, but we’ll check it out. :)

  43. Pat A.
    September 8th, 2014

    Maybe the cutest machinists ever. Good job, mom and dad!

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