Our friends from the TEDxStockholm team are launching Quirkbot -- a toy that allows you to create and program your own robots and make your own toys. The story of this project was also posted in TEDx Innovation blog, which celebrates creativity and innovation in TEDx communities around the globe.

Read how TEDx organizers are transforming education and help to bring Quirkbot to the world!

It's early spring in Stockholm. The date is April 11th, 2013. Lead Instigator of TEDxStockholm and former speaker of TEDxVilnius and TEDxCopenhagen, Carl Bärstad, is carrying a black box bought in IKEA, a Makey makey, and some LED strips on his way to attend the event Art Hack Day and do an interactive art project (or at least try). Already working on the project HackerspaceInABox in an attempt to bring more hands-on experimentation with technology to schools, Carl still just considers himself a "wannabe maker" and Art Hack Day terrifies him. An event for someone who neither identifies himself as a hacker nor an artist (merely some kind of hustler).

However, what happens over the coming 2 days is anything but terrifying. The creative energy at the event is overwhelming and, as an event organizer himself, a powerful idea is planted in Carls head: If only there were an event like this but for kids. Carl talks to several people at the event about the idea and decides to buy the domain www.kidshackday.com. 1 week later a team is formed, a venue found and a date set for the world’s first Kids Hack Day event

The Why So Curious art project at Art Hack Day. An exploration of curiosity that would unite the soon-to-be founding members of Kids Hack Day

A Global Movement is born

Built on top of the networks of the founding members of Kids Hack Day, such as TED (read story here) and TEDx (TEDxVilnius and TEDxCopenhagen), in just one year the team manages to initiate over 12 events, on 5 different continents and in 12 different cities, with no external funding. 

Carl at TEDxVilnius 

and TEDxCopenhagen

In early february 2014, the team realizes that Kids Hack Day would need a business model in order to grow into a sustainable organization. Something had been unleashed and Kids Hack Day was simply way too important to remain a creative side-project. But because there was a consensus not to charge for the events, there was no other way for Kids Hack Day but to create its own product. After all, the community had already called for a more fun, simple and easy tool that could combine programming, electronics and mechanics in 1 single project.

The first seed for Quirkbot was planted at Kids Hack Day Sydney, dec 2013, when Lead Instigator Carl Bärstad hacked an old Christmas toy with the kids and turned it into a propeller controlled by an Arduino using Strawbees and some straws.

So in early february 2014 Gothenburg-based prototyping company Ideofon, and the toy startup Strawbees was contacted. And only 16 days after the first ideation meeting, a first set of prototypes for Quirkbot was born. 

On the top: First Quirkbot ideation meeting. On the bottom: Early Quirkbot prototypes

Quirkbot has been launched on Kickstarter on January 20th at 7 pm Swedish time.

You can read more about Kids Hack Day and Quirkbot on www.kidshackday.com, www.quirkbot.com and Kickstarter page.


The TEDxStockholm Team