Dec 8 2001
The above picture shows me at a Christmas party for Autistic kids. I am the big kid with the grin.
The white sign on R2s dome says Merry Christmas. Below is my account of the day.

I just came back from a Christmas Party for Autistic children. A co-worker, who is part of the
executive of the society, convinced me to bring out R2 to show the kids.

Overall a great time. A lot of kids absolutely loved seeing R2. Quite a few of the parents
also went out of their way to thank me. At times it looked like R2 was more popular than Santa.
Now I know my R2 can run almost continuously for 3 hours.

I was very happy to bring R2 out but I have to say my nerves are completely shot after this event.
First off I was up until 4am the day before getting everything ready and fixing some of the electric's.
The majority of the kids were great but the shear number of them buzzing around R2 was a bit overwhelming.
The kids were all around R2 looking into his HPs and main eye, grabbing this and that.

I was told later that autistic kids generally like to touch things. Boy did these kids want to touch R2.
As I said before this was mainly no problem but there were a few kids who wanted to manhandle R2. These kids
would grab at anything, try and push or pull R2 around. One kid would every so often kick R2s feet.
The majority of the time the parents would quickly jump in and stop their kid and also apologize.

The ones I had to look out were the ones the parent let run around and do whatever they wanted.
After a time I recognized which kids were unattended and liked to grab R2. I would quickly jump in
and not let them touch R2. The most worrying ones were the kids who would grab a HP and try and spin the
dome around. My wiring for the dome lights does not allow continuous 360 deg rotation.

The worst damage was one kid who pulled off one of the vents in front and dropped it. Of course all
the glue joints broke and R2 parts were all over the floor. Some quick temporary repairs and R2 was
ready to go again.

Some of the kids were great and would stop other kids from touching R2. They would even pull the
other kids back. Some of the kids were so great that later on I let them control R2 for a bit.

Now I have one of those warm fuzzy feelings from making all those kids happy. This makes all those
times I was cursing at trying to get R2 together and working worth it.

But if you are doing anything like this I recommend getting plenty of sleep the night before and
taking something like Valium before you go. ;)

If you want to build your own R2 go here --

or here --

for an R7 go here --

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