Tech Festival comes to Ilford – from toddler coding to big kids making robot arms

VR playground by Space studio artist will be exhibited at Tech Festival. Picture: Brendan Walker

VR playground by Space studio artist will be exhibited at Tech Festival. Picture: Brendan Walker - Credit: Archant

Calling all urban explorers – if you fancy scaling tall buildings, venturing into deep caverns and going on a monorail then don’t make any plans to leave the borough this weekend.

VR playground by Space studio artist. Picture: Brendan Walker

VR playground by Space studio artist. Picture: Brendan Walker - Credit: Archant

Tech Festival is coming to Ilford, giving residents the opportunity to travel to different worlds all from the comfort of the library and High Road.

Why not grab a headset and a sense of adventure and try out a virtual reality playground on Saturday, June 15 from 10am?

If inspiration takes hold you can also have a go at building a robot arm or designing mechanical toys in Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: "Redbridge Central Library & Museum are once again hosting the annual Tech Festival for makers and tinkerers in the borough - a full day of activities and workshops for people of all ages that want to experiment with technology and making. No previous experience necessary, just a curious mind and a willingness to give it a go."

The event will run all day, bar a break for lunch, with most activities winding down at 4pm.

Most of the activities are free, but there might be a small charge if you want to take your creation home.

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* Coding for toddlers (3-6 years):

A hands-on opportunity for the smaller members of the family to learn mini-programming skills by using a Code-a-Pillar. This cute robot has straight, left and right segments that can be arranged to move the caterpillar accordingly. Set up an obstacle course and let your toddler try to reach the target.

- Maths in the museum (5-11 years):

Take part in this fun family trail around Redbridge Museum and explore the history of the borough through numbers, shapes, money, time and more

* Wiggle drawing bots (4-7 years with supervision and 8 years and over):

A hands-on activity for all members of the family to create motorized contraptions that draw random patterns. Learn about motors and how you can build a robot that jiggles across the page to create amazing scribbles.

* Robo arm (4-7 years with supervision and 8 years and over):

Reverse engineer a human arm to build a mechanical version that you can wear and operate with your hand. Strings will act as muscles, cardboard will be the bones and straws will mimic tendons to guide the direction of the pull.

* Newspaper STIXX engineering (4-7 years with supervision and 8 years and over):

Sit on a giant chair made from newspaper. Think of a book character, such as Harry Potter, then using your creative and innovative skills construct, out of newspaper, an object for that character such as a magic wand or a sign of the deathly hallows which you keep. Delivered by STEM in Schools.

* Creating games and worlds (7 years and over):

Learn programming skills by creating worlds and games using Scratch, Kodu and Roblox. All of these applications introduce users to programming concepts and enable users to build games and game worlds that can be shared and played by others. Visitors will also be able to try out other game and world creation tools. Children and parents will also be encouraged to use the Interland games for guidance about being safe and responsible internet citizens. Delivered by Gavin Sealey (Netstorms Limited).

* Cardboard automata (4-7 years with supervision and 8 years and over):

Get busy creating a cool mechanical toy that moves and decorate it to make it super special. Discover how to put together machine elements such as cams, levers and linkages in a playful way. A mechanical engineering activity perfect for children that want to discover how things work to become the inventors of tomorrow.

* Imagine a 3D, illustrated or makercraft alien (8 years and over):

Space scientists, exobiologists and astronomers have speculated that there are billions upon billions of stars in all the galaxies in the universe. Will we find aliens on our eventual journeys to some of them? This is your opportunity to imagine and create the look of an alien that would have evolved on other planets. How would they look if their planet has heavy or low gravity? Design your own alien using makercraft materials, drawing materials or 3D design software. Please bring your own storage media to save your digital aliens.

* VR playground, 11 years and over:

Visit Ilford Town Centre and scoot through the metropolis inside a mono-wheel; leap tall structures in a single bound; and undulate upwards to escape the deep abyss - don a virtual reality headset, jump on a playground swing, and be transported on an exhilarating swing-powered adventure VR playground in the latest ride experiment by the world's first thrill engineer, Professor Brendan Walker, space artist, and his Thrill Laboratory.

* Litter things matter (families):

Meet Busta and his gang to hear about all the problems plastics are causing our planet.

You will have an opportunity to do a litter cleanup and get a prize for your planet protecting contribution. Please note that children must be accompanied by an adult. Draw your favourite land or sea creature and write a message about how litter affects people, creatures on land or in the sea.

You will be shown how to decorate your picture using a basic circuit to light it up and make it look totally amazing!