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F3F Awayday to Reach Robotics & Open Bionics

Last week we had our first Free3Friday awayday – an exciting trip up to futurespace at UWE’s Frenchay campus to visit two fabtastic local companies – Open Bionics & Reach Robotics. If you don’t already know about these talented people then you really should look them up. They are definitely an integral part of the local SW tech landscape and are currently rapidly expanding  – which means they are recruiting. We also know that both companies are keen to ensure they create diverse and inclusive workplaces, and are working hard on this, so now’s the time to send them your cvs.

We could only take a dozen WTHubbers this time – both companies are really busy and inundated with would-be visitors so we felt very privileged to get guided tours of both workspaces as well as plenty of time to talk about opportunities and PLAY WITH ROBOTS.

As is the WTHub way things kicked off with coffee and cake and informal chat before a round-the-room intro  – we do this every week at WTHub to get an idea of the wide range of skills and roles in the room as it facilitates useful discussions. It was great to include a bunch of people from both Reach Robotics and Open Bionics (including COO Sammy Payne). Silas Adekunle, CEO of Reach Robotics, made it into the room just in time to join in and introduce himself too, straight from a flight from New York, which we thought definitely showed his commitment to diversity.

As well as exploring battling mekamon robots and how to build 3D printed prosthetics, we also used the morning as a chance for people to get useful feedback on their CVs: Cherry Sinclair is in charge of People at Reach Robotics and was generous with her advice on what tech companies look for when recruiting. It’s a really useful part of what we do – arranging for a range of people to look at cvs and/or linked in profiles and give feedback on how to present ourselves, and we really appreciated Cherry’s input. As well as her choice of cakes.

We also had a visit from John Honnibal, resident electronics wizard at Reach Robotics who brought out some of his gadgets to showcase small and interesting electronic projects – he gave an inpromptu demo of what can be done with cheap circuit boards, leds and old SNES controllers. He also invited everyone to visit Bristol Hackspace on a Thursday evening to see what you can get up to there with old computer parts and a soldering iron.

So, all in all a great trip out; big thanks especially to Silas Adekunle for agreeing it was a good idea for us to visit, to Sammy Payne at Open Bionics for putting us in touch with Silas in the first place, and to Cherry Sinclair and all the other team members who were so friendly and generous with their time.

nb a while ago at an F3F session we shared info on Reach Robotics, which inspired one of our members to apply to work there ~ congratulations on the new job Magda, it was great to see you again when we visited! We hope to create more opportunities to engage in the future – ideas include a combined robot/games jam…