• Working with various schools in Los Angeles, Annika focused on developing curriculum that would allow students to learn the basic principles of electronics and mechanical engineering on a very limited budget. Most programs were funded by private companies donations and volunteers working to bring college-level education to underserved kids.

  • Teaming up with Motion Picture Marine and the Office of Naval Research, the Porpoise Robotics program was developed to introduce middle and high school students to aquatic robotics. Students learn computer science and engineering principals by programming sensors and designing the robots (Sea Perch and Sea Hawk). The students collect and analyze data from local water sources.

  • Founder of the LA Robotics Club, the largest and most active club of its kind in Southern California. With over 2,000 members, the club includes professional engineers, computer scientists, robotics enthusiasts and curious youth. We focus on open-source platforms such as Arduino and hold classes as part of our community outreach.

  • Instructor and Tutor, working with many underserved youth in the Los Angeles area. Areas of expertise range from teaching soldering and Arduino classes with the LA Robotics Club to working with Porpoise Robotics, a high school outreach program that teaches and mentors underserved kids about robotics via team-built aquatic vehicles.

  • I worked with Infuxis to design and build a giant Plinko game for the 2013 VidCon held in Anaheim, CA. The idea was that the audience votes by hashtag (on Twitter) for which celebrity they would like to see dunked in a tank of water. Their votes determine which slot a puck is dropped into by an actuated arm, thus sealing the fate of one unlucky YouTube celebrity. 20,000 votes were collected with a backend client by Influxis and sent to the Arduino-controlled mechanism.

  • Annika O'Brien is the Robo-Tech for Team "Game Over" on the new SyFy series Robot Combat League. Together, she and her Robo-Jockey, Keisha Howard of SugarGamers.com battled it out in an arena, controlling an 8 ft. tall, 1,000 pound humanoid for a chance at $100,000 and the champion title!

Promoting open-source electronics and robotics for people of all ages and experience levels.

Founder and driving force behind both the LA Robotics Club and Houston Robotics Club, I have put a lot of focus into creating communities for people of all ages who have an interest in learning more about Robotics and Electronics. Being mostly self-taught, I understand the value in having friends to encourage and support one another in a group setting.

At age 8, I began programming in BASIC on a Commodore 64. I went on to earn an education in Biology, Robotics, Machining and Electronics Fabrication. Working as a middle-ware software developer in the game industry for some years, I felt my position was lacking in many ways and decided to make my hardware-related side projects my main focus. I am now a hobbyist builder who makes really cool stuff and have made various electronics and props for Hollywood shows and movies. In my extra time I’ve taught under-served teens in inner-city Los Angeles how to make robots, including how to program and design them, mostly from junk. I also offered hands-on Arduino classes all over Los Angeles and Orange County. In 2014 I moved to Houston to launch a start-up providing K-12 Engineering curriculum to public schools, utilizing data from standards tests and 3D printers. Students learn real-world problem solving and create physical representations of scientific and engineering principles.

I have a few personal projects that I’m currently working on, but still manage to find time to meet with others and speak on science and technology-related panels. Topics I am most interested in are Open-Source Hardware, Artificial Intelligence, Massive Open Online College Education (MOOC’s) and Community Outreach focused on Technology Education and I’m an active member in the Houston Start-up scene.

My radio interview with KPFK 90.7 FM, December 1st, 2012: