Robyn Farah: An Interview with Cape Town’s Robot Whiz Kid

Robyn Farah

Creative Mornings Cape Town is wicked psyched to be hosting Robyn Farah for this month’s talk about our theme “Robot.”  We caught up with Robyn over email and asked her a few questions about her passions and what she thinks of robotics.

CMCT: This month’s theme is “Robot.”  What the heck does that mean for you? We want to know why you care about robots.

RF: For me, the theme “Robot” covers everything from Homer’s concept of man aiding machines to today’s hobbyist, who automates his house and recreates DaftPunk’s outfits.

CMCT: A lot of people think of old 1950s movies when they think of robots.  I suspect yesterday’s tomorrows only nicked the tip of the iceberg on what robots are doing nowadays.  What are some of the most unique/wacky/bizarre robots you’ve seen in your work?

RF: It is difficult to say because there is so much awesome stuff being released all the time. It is actually hard to say what is the most mind blowing, but these cool projects pop to mind immediately:

Never Wet
General Wearable tech which you can build at home
FRHANK FROLIC’S Bike Bell

CMCT: You have your hand in a lot of different projects that have a lot of missions, including marketing for existing tech companies and helping start up new tech ventures. Tell us more about your work with the Maker Movement.

RF: So I, personally, am involved with 3 main projects (KAT-O, Curiosity Campus and Modern Alchemist) which all focus on tech and innovation in some way or another. While KAT-O works alongside businesses and individuals to promote and/or design and create technologies which revolutionize the way we live, my work with the Maker Movement is community and hobbyist based. I started Arduino Cape Town in 2012, an electronics community which has over 1,000 members. At the end of 2014, I expanded into the Modern Alchemists. The Modern Alchemists are the Cape Town collaborative skills collective, the community hub that is a community in and of itself. We consist of hobbyists, coders, engineers, designers, artists, musicians and general makers. We are the amalgamation of backgrounds and skills found in all walks of life.

CMCT:  As we are “Creative” mornings, what do you do to recharge your creative batteries?  What keeps you motivated?

RF: Listening to music, going on adventures, listening to podcasts, spending time with friends and family, and baking.

CMCT: Where is your favorite and only-in-South-Africa robot (i.e. traffic light)? Why?

RF: I shall quote my lead engineer “All robots are equal”. I cannot discriminate; it would not be fair.

Be sure to join us on Friday, May 29th at 8:30 a.m. for breakfast and fun conversation with Robyn, in person, at Friends of Design at 186 Bree Street, CBD!  Tickets will be available on Monday, May 25th.