002 GameBandits Show Notes

GameBandits 002 Pre-Show Notes!

Greetings again, GameBandits!

I’m a bit late with the email this evening…but my excuse is that I’ve had a new mutt chewing on my arm every time I attempt to sit down and write this invite!

Huzzah Attack!

Tomorrow 11am EDT we’re back for more Gaming chats!
Join us on the Discord chat if you want to be a part of the voice discussion… this will be broadcast live on our Twitch channel so make sure I don’t use any bad words or misbehave as it’ll be recorded… I generally find if I’m not sure if I should say something…I don’t! ;-). 

Bandit Lines of Communication

The session will be streaming on our Twitch channel. If you want to watch along, make sure you turn the sound off to avoid brain bending echoes!:


Darn Yarn!?

Sew what!?

I think that arguably the most important news to shake the gaming world is that The Sims are adding a knitting mod!  If you want to see it in action…or maybe inaction is a better word for it…Here you go:

Diversity and Gaming

Sonic Fox and friends!

Interesting article here about how e-sports and gaming in general, tends to be very white and male.  One of the points they make, that really struck me, was how women and People of Color can be put off getting into gaming and game design if they see that “only white guys” are doing it… it can make people feel like they don’t have a place as creators of games or gaming content…that they are only consumers.
Why do you think that a lack of diversity is bad for gaming?  

I found some enlightening statistics in the following article… while gamers of color are, by far, the largest group of players, they are significantly underrepresented in game development! 


Anime, Animation & Gaming
Listening to Baz and his buddies talking Anime while “Huzzah!”, our latest furry canine addition to the family attempted to climb a tree in pursuit of squirrels, I started thinking…What are the best Anime Video games?  Are there any anime shows that have made it to video game form and been any good? What about the other way around?
Apparently Last Airbender was american so that doesn’t count!

The Non-Anime Last Airbender

Anime, as it turns out, was around before photographs even!  Early Japanese “animators” used a combination of multiple slide projectors, sometimes projected onto smoke and partially transparent (see through) material using hand painted glass slides.

Pre-photography Magic Lantern Anime!?

They even started getting fancy with some designed to move mechanically in what was then known as “magic lantern shows”.  The first actual anime film was way back in 1917…and no, before Baz asks… I wasn’t around to see it, horrid child!

Mechanical Slide

One of the early anime hits in North America was a show called Astro Boy, along with a few that, yes, I do remember and that I loved… like Star Blazer, RoboTech and the rather grown up, but spectacular AKIRA!

Space Battleship Yamato or Star Blazers as us North Americans knew it.
Super Dimension Fortress Macross or Robotech

Anyway… one of the first to leap to mind was, of course, Pokemon which has had a ton of video game adaptions over the years… here’s a great video that shows off the evolution of this amazing game series!

Sword Art Online (the most recent trailer looks pretty awesome!):

Dragon Ball Fighter Z | Character Trailer | PS4

Astral Chain looks insanely cool:

One Piece Unlimited world Red

Attack On Titan 2 – Battle Gameplay Trailer (bit bloody so skip this one if you’re worried)

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 – Opening Intro | PS4, XB1, PC

ONE PUNCH MAN: A HERO NOBODY KNOWS – Release Date Announce Trailer

Making Anime
I always wanted to be able to draw my favourite characters… and anime seems a lot easier than trying to draw Doctor Who… there’s a great YouTube channel called Cartooning Club How to Draw that shows you step by step how to draw just about anything… often in the cutest “Chibi” form too… check it out! Here’s their How to Draw Anime playlist

All animation used to be done by hand and was an insanely painstaking and slow process.  Turns out that even today with computers helping to speed things up, it still relies on a lot of artists doing drawing by hand (though often on tablets)!  Here’s a video that walks you through the entire Anime process:

And lastly, here’s another video… a great interview with an animator who lets us know just how hard it is to make a living working as an anime artist in Japan!

See you all tomorrow!



Contagious Curiosity -> Inspired Learning

001 TechBandits LIVE! Show Notes

Hello Summertime Bandits of Tech!

Since everyone’s schedule is so hot and humid these days, I thought I’d mix things up a bit…

NO PRIVATE ZOOM MEETING THIS WEEK… Nope! In a bid to open this whole TechBandits thing to a wider and more geographically diverse audience, I’m going try out a TechBandits Live Twitch Stream!

Any willing Tech Bandits are welcome to join me on our Twitch channel…https://www.twitch.tv/ironhamtv
If Bandits want to chat (via text) Baz has got a private TechBandits only discord channel set up just for them (you will need to set up a free discord account to use this…but it’s cool, the kids love it! 😉

The TechBandits can communicate with me through Discord, so it’s just them and I… and I will be streaming live and also interacting with people in the live Twitch stream.  It sounds complicated, but really it’s just those two links.

And if it’s a miserable failure, then we all learned something…I’m not sure what, but I’m sure it’s a great life skill! 😉
Here’s some things we could be discussing!


5G Towers set on fire because people believe conspiracy theories!?People are actually burning down 5G towers because of completely debunked theories that link them to COVID1-19!?

It seems that we are living in the perfect time for conspiracy theories to thrive… how do we guard ourselves against this kind of misinformation?https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/06/12/how-the-5g-coronavirus-conspiracy-theory-began/

Twitter and other big tech companies are changing racially charged technical terms like “master” and “slave” in networking or “Blacklist” and “Whitelist” for access to servers.  We’ve talked a bit about how language can affect the way people treat each other… can you think of any other examples of this kind of language that we should be reconsidering?  I’m trying not to say “guys” when I’m talking to groups of people who aren’t all “guys”.  Any thoughts?


What’s with all these companies boycotting Facebook?


How should facebook be handling all these complaints of misinformation, racism and violence on their service.  How do you think they should fix this?

One of my amazing friends sent me this very cool sounding robot recycling contest being held by Emanuel School in London, England…


What steps would a robot have to go through in order to properly sort our recycling? 

If you need help “sorting” out what goes where, here in Toronto, you can always ask the waste wizard:


And speaking of robots… one of my favourite robotic companies FESTO has created a couple of amazing new projects…A beautiful new robotic bird: 

and an incredibly dextrous hand on a balancing ball robot?!


Talk to you tomorrow!

Contagious Curiosity -> Inspired Learning


Dhewlett on TWITTER

002 Fridaze TechBanditry LIVE! Show Notes

Greetings again, Tech Bandits!
Are you ready to go live again?!  
11am EDT Friday July 10thYou’ll be able to watch at:https://twitch.tv/ironhamtv

I’ve had to push Tony Ellis and The STEAM sisters until next week, in the hopes of figuring out a way to add their video chat to our live stream… we’ve got to be able to see them and the spectacular science and tech they’ve been getting up to!


In the meantime, here’s what inventor extraordinaire Tony has been up to in regards to our Tech Bandits N.O.H. COVID distance sensor!

Ultrasonic NOH.jpg

And just so we’re all on the same page… here’s a reminder on how Ultrasonic Sensors work…Wait until you get a load of the math!

And a very cool little TED animation about the piezoelectric crystal that makes all this distance sensing possible!

And since we obviously can’t be expected to go without them for another week … here’s where you can catch the fabulous STEAM Sisters online:


The STEAM Sister’s YouTube channel, home of STEAMStories and Boredom Busters:

The STEAM Sisters on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/steam.sisters/

And here’s a recent CTV interview they did with a couple of cool sci facts celebrating Canadian science: 


Now, from high frequency sound to not hearing any sounds at all… check out the latest in flexible sensor fabric and AI to create a glove that translates sign language into speech!


Of course, this made me want to learn how to sign… here’s a few signs for beginners:

Communication is a powerful tool.. but what about sound itself?  What if it could be used to move things? 


Check out Physics Girl as she walks us through how she built an Acoustic levitator:

Is anyone else getting Lucio from Overwatch, vibes?  What other cool things is sound being used for or could be used for in the future?


And now just to throw you all off on a completely different tangent…Guess who’s got the latest and greatest face swapping technology….Disney?!

Yikes How the heck do we know which one is real?!


Why would Disney want to swap faces.  How could this technology help them making their movies and TV shows… and how could it make the Internet even harder to believe?

Oh, and by the way, they’ve also been building an army of stuntronic robots!

See you all tomorrow!

The Tech Bandits is our Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math inspiration club with a focus on assistive technologies, video games and tech that inspires life long learning, responsible cyber citizenry, equality and empathy both online and off.

Contagious Curiosity -> Inspired Learning



001 GamingBandits Live! Show notes

PC Bandits,

We’re going live!  If you’re up for it, you’ll want to join us 11am EDT Wed July 8th:
You don’t have to participate if you don’t feel up to it… I’m sure that Kal will be lurking only on Discord so you won’t be alone in your judgmental silence! 😉

Bratlett has kindly offered to help get anyone into the discord voice chat if they have any discord problems.

That’s right, we’re taking PC Banditry to the world on Twitch this week.  


But why stop on planet Earth!?… have a look at the new trailer for Kerbal Space Program 2…

I was so taken with what I saw that I had to learn more…here’s their developer trailer: 

But Kerbal was not built without problems it seems…HUGE problems in fact:https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-03/kerbal-space-program-2-release-disrupted-by-corporate-strife

Have you ever had trouble working with or gaming with someone? Since we can’t all just buy our way out of conflicts…how do you deal with disagreements or annoying people online?


And how do we stay at the top of our game?  How do we avoid missing those critical shots because of a cramping finger or a cricked neck or a blurry sniper site from tired eyes… it’s hard to believe, but gamer burnout is a real concern in this BILLION dollar business of e-sports!



But have no fear…here’s what you can do to keep yourself at your Bandit best and your body in play…


What do you do to stay fit and alert in your gaming…what one change could you make to your gaming setup to make it better?  Let’s talk about game winning Ergonomic setups that don’t turn us into creaky old trolls! 


I know we’ve got a couple of Sims fans here, but did you know that the game designer was originally inspired to design the game when he lost his house to the 1991 Oakland fire.  He had to rebuild it from scratch and enjoyed the challenge so much he wanted to make a game out it?


And if you want to really put your Sims skills (or perseverance) to the test, check out these 7 challenges to shake up your gameplay.


We’ll also hear how Baz is enjoying and any tips he’s got for us from his intense The University of Oklahoma Esports Club: Overwatch this week!


The Tech Bandits is our Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math inspiration club with a focus on assistive tech. The Gaming Bandits sessions use video games and tech to inspire learning, responsible cyber citizenry, equality and empathy both online and off.

Contagious Curiosity -> Inspired Learning



Session Three… Robo Face Spider!

We’re back… with Doomsday Glaciers, IceFin – the under-ice-robotic-oceanographer, Face recognition for attack spiders and a whole new world of biohacked robots…we’ve got all sorts of crazy new inspirations, projects and fun, peculiar approaches to STEAM for you!

Attack of the Face Finding Robo Spiders - Session 3 Techletts Cover

Tech Bandits – Session One

Hello Tech Bandit Family, Patrons & Friendlies!

Well, that was WAY too much fun and over FAR too quickly?!  Session One has come and gone and it was wonderful!

Last week it was my pleasure to meet the 2020 Tech Bandits!  We immediately split into two groups dividing our time between Mr. “Video” Vida’s French Room… where we were hosting our “No-Hands” Minecraft Xbox… and the school library… which Mike “The Machine” had rearranged for optimal electric wheelchair road testing…

Adaptive Controller Testing at Microsoft

Half of our intrepid Tech Bandits took control of the XBox adaptive system… designed by Microsoft specifically to help people with disabilities to play video games and use Windows computers.  

One of our Bandits has kindly broken his collarbone for us (I believe?) and thus had his arm in a sling so was a perfect test case for our footpedal and micro-switch XBox gaming combination. 😉  Other Bandits tried trapping their hands in their sleeves to simulate a partial limb and when Bandits began defecting to the “easier” traditional handheld XBox controller… we agreed that a more productive solution was to lose our shoes and control them with socked toes instead!  We discovered that this method works best when the controller is locked into place, so we’ll have to see how best to accomplish that so as to avoid continually chasing our controller around the classroom! I’m also going to look into a wider selection of input switches, joysticks and possible configurations for this… so many possibilities!

Bandits Playing “no hands” Minecraft

Meanwhile back at the library… our other group of Bandits  took turns piloting the electric wheelchair through Mike’s “bibliotheque chicanes” … though they were sure to keep the mode set to “indoor” and the speed setting to low, despite much interest in the aptly named “Aggressive” mode!  The idea was to give our Bandits a sense of  what it’s like for people with disabilities to get around.  It was generally agreed that wheelchairs could be a lot of fun… which makes me think an enlightening test of this belief might be having them limited to ONLY using a wheelchair for a whole day!

Bandit Navigates bibliotheque chicanes in our Electric Wheelchair

For the last few minutes before the end of lunch bell, we all came together for a quick orientation and discussion… talking about  different types of disabilities and our upcoming field trip to McCordic School for kids with developmental and physical disabilities next week… speaking of which…

Pending some work-to-rule limitations, our fabulous principal Ms. Ellis and Mr. Vida have worked it out so that we can make it a real visit, not just lunch!  So we now have a couple of hours in the morning that will give our Bandits an opportunity to meet the spectacular staff and students at McCordic and see how they spend their days and get our Bandits thinking about possible projects to collaborate on!

There were a whole lot of questions and suggestions… a few of which really got me thinking…

McCordic’s Apartment “set” beginning to take shape!

– McCordic School has a brilliant project in the works…they are in the process of putting together a “training apartment” where their kids can learn and get a start at familiarizing themselves with the day to day skills needed for independent living  …This sparked a whole discussion about Virtual Reality and how that could be used, along with an real world apartment set to help kids with disabilities to gain the confidence and skills they need

This brilliant VR idea reminded me of a project done by King’s College Hospital in London aimed at reducing the anxiety for kids preparing to have MRI scans done… check it out!

There was also discussion about salvaging old switches and game controllers (of which I have many!) to create calming “fidget spinner”-esque sensory projects incorporating lights and different types of inputs and triggers to keep kids focused and relaxed… and as such, I may run into a Tech Bandit or two on my Geek Trash forrays on garbage nights in the hood… looking for cool old tech to autopsy, fix or repurpose!

Here’s the Roomba robo-vacuum that I told our Bandits about rescuing from the garbage on my very own street having a playdate with the wheel section of our electric wheelchair:


Turns out there is a lot of interest in tearing down the electric wheelchair… which BTW really needs a name!!? Ideas for repurposing it included creating a robotic helper for when “Machine” Mike gets too old and needs help carrying his groceries…I guess it’s too late for me!?  😉

One of many possible EZ-Robot arms

After realizing that preparing breakfast… initially thought to be “so easy”… could prove challenging for some people… there was much enthusiasm for using some of my EZ-Robot motors to engineer a simple robotic arm to help make breakfast or at least handle the spoon-feeding… of suitably sugary cereals, of course!
So we’ll be adding this great EZ-Robot project to the mix for sure!

And lastly there was a lot of questions about Brain Computer Interfaces…heady stuff!  I’ll be looking into wiring up my OpenBCI headset in the near future so we can see if there’s a way to try that out!   


Here’s a cool little video animation about all about BCI or neural interfaces:

So, as I said to start… a thoroughly amazing experience… certainly for me!
Please feel free to send comments, suggestions or questions my way… would love to hear what the Bandits have to say about things!
I am still looking to spread the word about donations to help investigate some of these ideas and fund projects and other STEAM inspirations… so if you or friends or family want to help out, it would be much appreciated!

Patreon is a US based website that allows creators, artists etc. to connect patrons and creators who pledge donations monthly to their favourite projects… please consider signing up and helping out…everything helps!

Can’t wait for next week!



Contagious Curiosity -> Inspired Learning
You can Follow our Tech Bandit Adventures on Twitter @dhewlett

Greetings 2020 Tech Bandits

Hello Tech Bandits!

So happy that you’ve decided to join us for this year’s round of mad Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math Maker-ing!
Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Tech Bandit cause thus far… and I invite everyone else to consider contributing whatever you can.  All the money goes towards making it possible to do cool STEAM stuff with kids… like yours!  Donations can be made at https://www.patreon.com/techbandits …and please share the link with friends and family in the hopes that they may want to pitch in too!

This year our focus will be on assistive tech… We’re looking to inspire Tech Bandit collaborations with people living with disabilities, be they related to physical, developmental or mental health issues…by creating cool Maker projects with them!  You may want to start discussing ideas with your Bandits, so I wanted to give you an idea of what kind of trouble we’re hoping to get into this year!


Once the holidaze are over, we’ll meet up over lunch and talk about different disabilities and the myriad of different technologies that could be used to help make lives easier… the first thing being how best to collaborate with the kids who need this stuff the most!  
We’ll then be dividing into two bands of 5 bandits and TTC’ing our way over to marvelous McCordic school for kids with developmental and physical disabilities.  5 kids at a time is McCordic’s recommended number, so I’ll be doing this over two days. We need to keep the groups small so we don’t overwhelm them with our Tech Bandit awesomeness!  😉

On our visit we’ll be getting a tour to see how the school works and meet some of the staff and kids over there, learn about their day and what kind of projects we can be working with them on.   
Next we craft our plan of attack!  What projects will we be working on… and how will we make it happen?


I’ve got a few XBox assistive controllers like these:

Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller

and eye trackers allowing eyes to follow things like this:

In-game eye-tracking with Tobii

so we’ll be looking into customizing these amazing assistive controllers for people with various disabilities so that we can all play video games together…

A gamer with disabilities and his engineer friend having fun trying out the multitude of switches available for the Xbox adaptive controller.

here’s a video about these amazing things that work on XBox and Windows PC: 

and here’s what happens when you add eye control to minecraft!

We’ll also be looking into some Maker creations for McCordic’s sensory wall… maybe a wall of locks or something like this amazing box of switches:

And we can’t go a year with robots!?  I know that the McCordic kids will enjoy some Robot dance demos? I was there the other day with a couple of robot and the possibilities are endless… though I doubt our robots will be this big!

Our robots will be more like these line dancing EZ-Robots:

I’ve also just got my hands on a crazy cheap old electric Magellan wheelchair: 

A picture of a similar Magellan electric wheelchair model. Ours isn’t as new as this one, but it runs beautifully!

…Which I’m hoping we can begin exploring all sorts of assistive projects with.  Given the weather, maybe an electric snow plow?

Or since I also have  one of these OpenBCI headsets… 
…maybe even a wheelchair controlled by our brains!

Enjoy exploring and discussing all of this with your Tech-Bandit-in-waiting and feel free to get in touch with any comments or suggestions as we STEAM into 2020

Have a great Holiday and I look forward to conspiring and creating with your Tech Bandits in the new year.


David Hewlett

Tech Bandits 2020!

Hello All!

Next year’s Bandits?!…This year’s Bandits? We start our Tech Banditry in January, so I’m going 2020 with it ’cause it sounds cool and futuristic!?

Image result for blade runner"

I’m trying a new experiment this time around. I’ve set up a Tech Bandits Patreon page in order to raise donations, rather than just hit up parents, to cover the cost of materials and such. It may be a complete and utter disaster and cost me an arm and a leg, but I really want to see if there’s enough interest out there to expand our Tech Bandits offerings and spread the word! Here’s what I’ve sent out to the school to describe my hopes for this year:


Break Stuff…Make stuff…For fun and for the future!

Change the world for the better…with an exciting mix of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Play minecraft with assistive tech, using only your eyes, or Fortnite with no hands…navigate a room blindfolded.  Listen to sounds your ears can’t hear and tell robots to do your bidding!

The Tech Bandits are a kid-driven tech club that promotes analytical thinking, team building, empathy and understanding…and we’re not afraid to make a mess along the way!

This year, the Tech Bandits are hoping to team up with a local school, for kids with developmental and physical disabilities, in order to learn about life with disabilities and how we can make a difference, by creating amazing, assistive, tech solutions with the kids who need them!  

The club is free, but we’re always looking for people to give us old tech and donations!  In the hopes of raising money for materials, supplies and cool new tech and tools, I’ve set up a Patreon account and would ask parents to consider a 2 month @ $60 donation for having their kids in the mix: http://bit.ly/techbandits

I’ll also start sharing fun Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math things I find in my Internet-ing once again. Here’s a few things that I’m hoping to put to nefarious use throughout the coming season of the Tech Bandits:

I’ve got to start with one of my favourite robots and robot companies, Boston Dynamics. They are light years ahead of just about every other humanoid, and now dogoid?!? robot out there…I actually got the chance to pilot one of these a couple of years ago at the Robotics Conference in Boston and let me tell you…they had to chase me down and pry the controllers from my sweaty little hands!

Robot Operating System

Training is important for dogs and roboticists. And if you want to talk robot this is “language” you’ll need to make sure your robots to do your bidding…https://www.ros.org/ is a treasure trove of robot programming expertise and resources:

Image result for robot operating system"

And speaking of robots… if you’re having a hard time finding good renovation help for your home renovations…why not put this tireless drywalling fellow to good use?:

And skip all those pesky ladders by having these drones handle the cleaning for you…

Oh, and they can also handle giant wind turbines if you happen to have a couple of those gathering bugs!

And of course you’ll need to get those robot parts delivered…so check this crazy mail sorting dance number out!