21st Century Maker

The Creative Science Foundations orgainises ‘Maker’ events under the heading of the ‘21st Century Maker’. These events utilise SF-Prototyping as a product innovation tool as well as a mechanism to motivate the study of STEAM (Science, technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) in education.

Generally these activities take two forms, the first are events organized around the “21st Century Robot”  project, a crowd sourced open innovation project involving partners such as Maker Media, Trossen Robotics & FortiTo which aims to develop the next-generation of domestic robots. Second, we organize a series of vacation schools for people that want to learn about using SF-Prototyping for product innovation and its application to business entrepreneurship as part of Maker activities. These events are organised in various locations around the world.  In terms of robot building, students have a range of options from the “Rolls Royce” of Maker robots, the ‘Trossen Robotics‘ built Jimmy (for around $1500) to the basic but affordable desk-top robots such as the  ‘FortiTo‘ Marvino (that costs just $35).

As mentioned above, CSf events use Science Fiction Prototyping (SFP) as the product innovation tool, a methodology that Jimmy (the robot)  was born from (see Johnson’s original SFP and Johnson’s original introduction to SFP). As an aid to Makers, Brian Johnson has written a book of the same title (The 21st Century Robot) that integrates SFP with the design of a futuristic domestic robot. The methodology and book make maximal use of open / crowd sourced platforms and design tools. While the “21st Century Robot” activity is, as the title suggests, focused on building robots, the methodology and technology can be used to create almost any conceivable product. Such product innovation is fundamental to starting up successful high-tech companies, which is why our vacation schools generally includes courses on entrepreneurship. If you are interested in our CSf vacation schools, either use our CSf web contact form to get in touch, or check back at this site regularly for more news.

Meet the 21st century robots

The original ‘Jimmy platform was based on the Trossen RoboticsHR-OS1 Humanoid Endoskeleton‘ which was launched as a package by Intel at the World Maker Faire in New York City on 20-21st September 2014 and costs $1600.  It is a hackable, modular, humanoid robot development platform designed from the ground-up with customization and modification in mind and, as such is very flexible and well suited to robotic based maker activities. The approach seeks to make maximal use of open / crowd sourced platforms and design tools. As an aid to Makers, Brian Johnson has written a book (see further down this page), The 21st Century Robot, that integrates SF-Prototyping with design based around this robot.

Intel's Jimmy Robot from Trossen RoboticsThe Trossen Robotics ‘HR-OS1 Humanoid Endoskeleton


This is a $35 desktop robot platform into which you plug your own processor (eg mbed, RPi, Arduino Micro, RPi Zero, BBC micro;bit etc) along with a range of accessories (eg line-followers) and includes the provision to accept 3D printed skins, to give the little robot your preferred appearance.  It uses the programming environment of the processor environment and includes a Bluetooth option for working with smart-phones  It provides most of the functionalities of the 21st Century Robot but at low enough price tag  to allow anyone to own one. As such it is quite popular for education. A textbook which uses this cheap robot to teach computer programming is being  is being planned by an academic in St Paul’s College, Minnesota. For more information look at the Marvino website at www.fortito.mx/en.

Marvino RobotThe Marvino Desktop Robot (with an mbed processor plugged into it)

.For more information on the “21st Century Robot” and and related activities check the following links:

General Information on Maker Activities

For a general insight into Maker ideas, a quick search of the internet will reveal numerous useful sources of information. A few examples are:

Maker and SFP principles are perfect for education (eg technology design assignments) or company R&D (eg product innovation and rapid prototyping) and we therefore encouraage a mix of hobbyists, educationalists and industrialists to join the discussion.

21st Century Robot book details



Brian David Johnson’s Bio:

Picture of Brian David Johnson

The future is Brian David Johnson’s business. As a futurist at Intel Corporation, working in Intel Labs, his charter is to develop an actionable vision for computing in 2020. His work is called “future casting”—using ethnographic field studies, technology research, trend data, and even science fiction to provide Intel with a pragmatic vision of consumers and computing. Along with reinventing TV, Johnson has been pioneering development in artificial intelligence, robotics, and using science fiction as a design tool. He speaks and writes extensively about future technologies in articles and scientific papers as well as science fiction short stories and novels (Fake Plastic Love, Nebulous Mechanisms: The Dr. Simon Egerton Stories and the forthcoming This Is Planet Earth). He has directed two feature films and is an illustrator and commissioned painter