Passion Projects: Servo Socks
Dan Kitchen has always loved creating new things. However, one thing that this robotics fanatic with a passion for art says that he doesn’t love, is when his tools get in the way of his creativity.
Although his interests may seem very different from each other, “the same principles apply,” he explains. From robotics kits to his formal studies in animation, Kitchen says he has always loved making things move.
One of the most common ways to do this is by using a servo motor, a small motor that comes in most robotics kits. The problem, explains Kitchen, is that these motors can be incredibly difficult to mount to everyday objects. Every time that Kitchen wanted to avoid overspending on custom-made parts and wanted to use supplies from his workshop instead, attaching the servo motor “was always the roadblock,” he says.
After plenty of trial and error, Kitchen settled on a final model, a case made out of recycled plastic that mounts onto the servo motor and can then be carved into any shape. He calls it a Servo Sock.
So, in partnership with his best friend Jon Edwards, Kitchen launched an online crowdfunding campaign to make his product available to anyone. On the same day, his team ventured to a makers’ convention San Francisco, California, to test the waters.
After demonstrating his product at the convention, Kitchen says that he received an enthusiastic response from parents and educators. “It would be fun to be a kid right now who is really interested in robotics,” he explains, “I would have built a lot more things.”
Kitchen says that despite recent cutbacks in Ontario’s education funding, schools still need to find new and innovative ways to engage their students. This product, he explains, could be a more affordable way of putting robotics in the classroom.
Servo Socks are currently being manufactured by hand out of a small workshop in Kawartha Lakes. The small business exclusively uses Canadian made materials and hopes to continue employing people locally. When it comes to staying local, Kitchen asks, “if I can, why not?”
More information on Servo Socks can be found on their website, http://servosocks.com/