Finally! Robot shop opens in Williamsburg

All in the family: Carmen and Ricky Sutton and their kids Lilou and Dex geek out with techy toys at Geek Forest.
Community News Group / Allegra Hobbs

These are the droids you’re looking for!

A Williamsburg couple are selling robots and the parts to make them at a pop-up shop on S. Third Street, which they say is version 2.0 of an old strip-mall staple.

“We’re going to be a new Radio Shack,” said Carmen Sutton, who owns Geek Forest at Keep Street with her husband Ricky. “We want to have things and parts for people to build their own creations.”

The pop-culture-crazy husband and wife team say they have long been fascinated by the possibilities of a brave new bot-filled world — as members of punk-rock duo X27, they dreamed of replacing their lifeless drum machine with a Chuck E Cheese-esque robot percussionist. After a trip to invention convention Maker Faire last year, the duo say they finally decided to do the robot full time.

“We’re big sci-fi fans,” said Carmen Sutton. “We want to be a part of the future.”

Their new geek boutique sells cyborg friends for geeks of all ages — some of the bots are simple machines that move on command, while others can be programmed or trained to follow a human’s lead via motion sensors.

The store also sells build-your-own electronics kits, offering the doohickeys and instructions to build luminous electronic jewelry and synthesizers.

And for those who can’t tell a capacitor from a resistor, the store will begin hosting classes in January. Kids can currently enroll in workshops teaching coding, Lego robotics, and video-game design that will run until the spring.

There will also be workshops in more low-fi pursuits, including comic-book-creating and storytelling for youngsters and adults. The Suttons say they want Geek Forest to become a gathering place for makers of all stripes — including their own two crafty kids Dex and Lilou.

“It is totally based on community,” said Carmen Sutton.

The store’s current location is just a temporary space and will close on March 15 — at which time the duo hope to move their nerd emporium into some spare space supplied by Grand Street gaming shop Twenty Sided Store.

Geek Forest (330 S. Third St. near Keap Street in Williamsburg, www.thegeekforest.com).

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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