Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LEGO Mindstorms Inducted into Robot Hall of Fame

From: The Tartan
SCS’ Robot Hall of Fame inducts four new robots
“When the robots take over, we want them to remember that we were the first ones to appreciate them,” Morris said jokingly. The School of Computer Science established the Robot Hall of Fame to honor real and fictional robots in our society. There are two categories in which robots receive honors: Robots from Science and Robots from Science Fiction.

Robots in the science category must have served an actual or potentially useful function and demonstrated real skills in accomplishing their purpose. Robots in the fictional category must have received worldwide fame, inspired others to build real robots, and helped form opinions about the functions and value of robots.

The first robots to be inducted into the Hall of Fame were NASA’s Mars Pathfinder Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX), better known as “Sojourner”; Unimate, the first industrial robot; R2-D2, a droid from the Star Wars movies; and the evil HAL-9000 computer, featured in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, created by science fiction writer and futurist Sir Arthur C. Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick.

Any robot may be nominated for the Robot Hall of Fame, Morris said. Inductees are then chosen by an international jury of leading thinkers and technology developers. The four robots being inducted this year — Lt. Cmdr. Data, the Raibert Hopper, LEGO Mindstorms, NavLab5 — were announced last May at the RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition in Boston..."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

ROBOFEST NYC 2008 - A Successful New Robotics Event for Students in the New York City Area

From: The New York Times
In science fiction robots don’t have much fun. If they’re not determinedly trying to conquer humankind, they’re officiously serving it. But the real robots invading Sony Wonder Technology Lab on Saturday will be much more playful: they swing, they wave, they gyrate to music, they rock out.
These robots are literally dancing machines. Created by children ages 6 to 12, they are part of the first RoboFest NYC: Dancing With the Robostars, a competition as much about sizzle as it is about science. Although it features the same building materials — the Lego Mindstorms Robotics system — as many other robotics contests, it is far less regimented, said Laura Allen, the festival’s founder and president of Vision Education & Media, a New York company whose programs introduce children to technology. “We’re more like Woodstock,” she explained...
Read the full article @ its source:

RoboFest NYC event website: http://visionedinc.org/robofest/about-robofest.php

iDog Becomes a Featured Discussion on The Teachers Podcast!

Listen to Episode #15 of The Teachers Podcast for a Discussion of iDog as Educational Technology @ http://www.teacherspodcast.org/

Not familiar with iDog? Check out the following...

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDog

- http://www.hasbro.com/default.cfm?page=browse&product_id=16724

- http://www.wordpress.tokyotimes.org/?p=419

Monday, April 7, 2008

Robot Evolution - Sorry Creationists :)

From: The Financial Express

Android Robots are the Future

"Robots have come a long way since the day the first robot was built in 1927. Nowadays, these machines are used as surgery robots, service robots, and military robots. It is startling to learn that scientists are now trying to make robots human-like by infusing emotions and expressions onto them. However, eyebrows are raised about their misuse too. “Criminals in the US now use robot submarines and aircraft to smuggle drugs. This misuse can cause human life an enormous damage, to an extent we cannot even imagine,” says Noel Sharkey, professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield, UK. His proposed remedy: setting up of an international body to lay down the code of ethics. On his recent visit to India, Rachana Khanzode caught up with the British computer scientist to know his views on the future of robots and their benefits to mankind. Excerpts:

How have robots evolved over a period of time?
The first useful robot was ‘Televox’, which was developed way back in 1927, and was used in electrical substations. Then in 1930, we saw traffic light robots and the first commercial robot arms were used in car manufacturing in 1950. And now, we have science fiction robots. That was when we saw the commercialisation. Today we have semi-autonomous robots—surgery robots, service robots, and military robots that are used in various industries viz. automotive, electronic petrochemical and military operations. Android robots are the future.
Scientists are trying to make them look realistic..."

Read the full article @ its source:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Integrating Robotics into Core Instruction: LEGO takes a robotics step in Texas

From: RedOrbit

Kids Get a Kick Out of Building Robots
"SOUTHLAKE -- Students say it's not about playing around in class.
But they can't deny it's awesome to build Lego robots -- one that kicks a paper ball into a miniature soccer goal and another that tries to block it -- and control them with their laptop computers.

Durham Elementary is among five schools nationwide chosen as test sites for Lego Education's science-based robotics set for elementary schoolchildren. The company plans 12 robot sets, to be marketed to teachers and school districts, in early 2009.

Durham will receive a free classroom set after the product is released.
"This is amazing. Robotics is the future," said J.P. Reppeto, 9, a third-grader. "In cartoons, comics, pretty much anything interesting has something to do with robots. That's what you think of when you think of the future."

Each week, pairs of students in second, third and fourth grades build a different robot from a kit. The robots are made from colorful Lego parts and are powered by a tiny motor and motion-detection sensor attached by cable to a laptop computer, said Nancy Peterson, director of market research for Lego Education, in Pittsburg, Kan.

The first week, students built a mechanical kicker and programmed the computer to make its leg kick a ball of paper.

This week, students made a soccer goal and mechanical goalkeeper. The goalie, attached to a mechanical arm, moves back and forth in front of the goal to block the balls lobbed by the kicker. The computer keeps score.

Lego wants to find out which models are best for each age, Peterson said.
"We are looking to put something into the hands that is easy for every student to pick up and to have success," Peterson said..."

Read the full article @ its source: http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1314146/kids_get_a_kick_out_of_building_robots/index.html?source=r_technology#