Racing Through the Gateway of Play: Notes and Inspo from the RaceYa Hack Day

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OHMYGODTHATWASSOMUCHFUN!!!

That was the key takeaway from the RaceYa Hack Day event we hosted at the Pine Street School, Nov. 18, for hackers, STEM educators, and a couple of maker sprouts.

Over several hours on a Saturday afternoon, we set our latest prototype cars loose among a gaggle of curious, creative, and crafty hackers to see how they would get along. We were not disappointed.

There were obstacles to outmaneuver, gear box modifications to explore (hello windmills!), loads of different weights to transport — and vectors! But most of all, it was crazy fun — proving our fundamental hypothesis that play is what unlocks creativity and experimentation.

“Everyone lit up when they started using it,” said one happy hacker. “Even people who never used an RC car before.”

We learned a ton in the process and got so many great suggestions for features to explore — a boat cleat for tethering, perhaps?  — and new ways to use the cars as a platform for exploring mechanics and ultimately programming.

I want to thank everyone who dedicated their Saturday afternoon to our Hack Day so we could watch them play with cool cars.

And if you weren’t able to make it this time, we’ve got more in the works.