14 November 2016
Meccano robots aren't just for children. At work we are using them for to teach project management skills. People are divided into teams of seven and tasked with building a Meccanoid robot. But we don't provide instructions. Instead, there is a fully assembled robot in another room. Participants may not use cameras, nor may they take any Meccano between rooms. Here's a video of a session:
It's a lot of fun. There are two areas of the robot that aren't visible on the fully assembled model, so we provide a diagram of the wheel bearings, and the four servo motors are also provided in assembled form. Otherwise, they are on their own.
It is interesting to watch teams come up with different strategies for collecting information from the model, be it everyone shuttling back and forth or making detailed drawings or assigning one person as a runner. As with many projects, those who over-plan and those who under-plan both take longer than those who get the right balance. It takes about two hours to complete, plus another half hour of playing with and programming the robot.