Thursday, July 30, 2015

LocoRobo: Up and Coming Student Robotics Resource

I recently became aware of LocoRobo - Check  out its informational video (below)... seems to me that this group has made all the right moves to come up with a kid-friendly resource set that's guaranteed to capture young imaginations, generate excitement, and provide exactly the right learning opportunities. Classroom Robotics Blog will be reporting again on this most interesting and most promising resource as it moves forward!


LocoRobo - Master Programming Through Robotics from Loco Robo on Vimeo.

"Ever wondered what powers your flight tracking app? Ever wondered how you can record several TV shows at the same time? Ever wondered how NASA's MARS ROVER is able to beam back to earth breathtaking images of Martian landscape?

The answer is one word: Software. Software is what allows us humans to perform super-human tasks. And to write software, one needs to program.

LocoRobo's mission is to advance programming and robotics education for everyone by combining a world-class programing ecosystem with a high quality robot.

Checks us out on IndieGoGo -"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bristle BOTs! Robots as easy to make as brushing your teeth (almost)


Great hands-on STEM oriented FUN Activity! Here's a nice contextualizing presentation on this idea from the PBS Design Squad show...
Bristle Bots
Want to make a robot? Watch as Design Squad shows you how to make a mini robot that skitters around the room! (see video, above)...
More on Bristle Bots:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Upcoming American vs. Japanese Robot Battle: Real Nerds! Really Awesome War Robots!! REALLY Big (Paint) Balls!!!


OK... Looks Like the Challenge Has Been Accepted! It's On!!!!


Monday, July 20, 2015

EZ-Robot... certainly, a contenduh!

This one seems to have some great potential for learning... IN school and BEYOND school! Some great robotics applications are part of what's offered... on board camera, voice recognition commands, etc.

More info @

Friday, July 17, 2015

VORTEX Robot - Great Idea for a Powerful Educational Resource

I don't see this one as a "Toy" although I'm sure everyone would want to play with one. Whether this gets into kids' hands at home or at school, it's pretty obvious that there's important learning to be had by engaging with this! I look forward to observing kids use this and watching them 'play' their way to important understandings about robotics, technology, and the world in which they are growing up...


From TechCruch:

Vortex Is A Toy Robot That Teaches Kids How To Code

DFRobot, a company that has been building robots for the education market since 2008, this week introduced its first attempt at making a robot accessible to all children, with the debut of Vortex – an interactive, programmable robot aimed at kids 6 and up. The Vortex robot pairs with iOS and Android smartphones or tablets over Bluetooth, and lets kids control its movement by tapping the screen in the Vortex app to initiate commands. It also comes four free, pre-programmed games – “bumping fight,” “virtual golf,” “driving,” and “robot soccer,” which can later be customized by the child to create their own play experience.
According to DFRobot’s CEO Ricky Ye, the company wanted to build a robot that would make learning robotics fun for younger children. The team already had plenty of experience building robot kits for schools and teachers, he notes, so it was able to leverage what had historically been the most popular elements used in classes and competitions when designing the new robot toy.
“We strongly believe learning should be fun,” explains Ye. “That is why the Vortex is pre-programmed with games…By playing those games, we think they will also want to learn how to create their own games, thus start learning how to program their robot,” he says.

The Vortex itself is easy to use, notes Ye. After loading it up with four AA batteries, you just download the Vortexbot app from the App Store and begin to play. Some of its games – like “bumping fight” or “soccer” – require an additional robot toy, so would be better for families with more than one child. Others can be played independently, or allow kids to compete against the robot AI.
When kids are ready to program the robot, parents can download the WhenDo app from the App Store, which offers a variety of tutorials that will make it easy for kids to practice programming basics while customizing their games. However, while the WhenDo app has a simplified drag-and-drop interface as many learn-to-code programs today offer, it’s not something the average six-year could likely master without a parent’s help. That said, for a bright, adept child, it’s the kind of app they could learn to better use over time....

Read the full article at its source:


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Robotics at ISTE 2015 Conference: International Society for Technology in Education

Student Robotics were everywhere in evidence throughout the ISTE 2015 Conference. While I am a long, long-term fan of the LEGO Education Student Robotics materials (EV3, NXT,WeDo, etc.), in fact I wrote a book for ISTE on the subject (Getting Started with LEGO Robotics), I fully appreciate that there are other providers who offer alternatives as well and who take this broad area in other directions. One heartwarming display that I visited at the ISTE StartUp Pavillion (booth space for smaller, newer companies trying to establish themselves) was that of Trobo the storytelling robot, a small, plush doll-like robot that partners with younger children to foster deep literacy learning as it supports them in writing their own stories. Great stuff. Not just a digital resource to learn from, but one kids will love!

I also wandered by the booth of OZOBot, a mini robot that I’m sure would be great for upper elementary kids and older. The fascinating thing for me is the way students communicate with it. Apparently, it comes preprogramed to read shapes and patterns and colors and students can use software or pre-printed 2D modular stickers, or draw their own to get the robot to follow their instructions. My take is that this item will teach and illustrate programming and robotics, keep kids engaged and wondering and discovering, and offer schools a relatively inexpensive and effective way to offer a small slice of Robotics, an important piece of STEM Education.

The above was excerpted from the EdTech Digest Article

"ISTE 2015: Highlights, Takeaways, Things to Use and Follow-Up On"
A mega-surplus of resources for inspired kids to positively impact their world.GUEST COLUMN | by Mark Gura

Read the full article at its source:

ALSO at the conference I came across...
Pitsco which is now offering (released July 1) Robotics STEM Units... seems like something worth investigating, to me! 
AND I spent some quality time talking to BirdBrain Robotics
(reviewed previously in this blog) a turn in direction for Student Robotics that is refreshing, overdue, and important... I'm speak of the marriage of Robotics and The Arts!
(also excerpted from the EdTech Digest article, above)

"Another concentration of interest well represented at the conference was STEAM (emphasis on the “A” for Arts, the thing that distinguishes it from traditional STEM). I saw a good number of things that make this body of resource and practice viable and exciting. Actually, one of them, BirdBrain Technologies, straddles both the Robotics category and the STEAM (again, too much of a good thing sometimes seems just right). BirdBrain is a robotics system that uses some simple electronics and mechanical components; things like the Arduino processor and simple motors and sensors. These things are found in other robotics systems, but the wonderful difference here is that the robot body’s students produce with BirdBrain materials are very much the personal, expressive, hand-made, cut from cardboard variety of thing kids have always done and learned from. There’s a blend of real Robotics and crafts with a full blown artistic thrust to what kids do with this resource. Something I’ve long wanted to see, but have actually witnessed far too examples of, are student robots created by students for the purpose of creating art, art that requires learning programming and engineering thinking and STEM oriented problem solving; marriage of STEM and the Arts… STEAM!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Robot Petting Zoo: Up Close and Personal with Robots

Great piece from NPR...

"SXSW Debuts Robot Petting Zoo For A Personal Peek Into The Future Robots can be scary."
Listen to the story:

"...Dystopian films such as The Terminator tell the story of a world where robots take over.
But for some, robots are more like R2-D2, the cute bot from Star Wars. At this year's South by Southwest interactive festival, a petting zoo is aiming to evoke those same feelings. But, not just any petting zoo: a robot one.

BlabDroid is a small robot, less than a foot high, with bulldozer wheels, a cardboard body and a smile on his face. He's cute, but asks tough questions.

"Tell me something that you've never told a stranger before," he says.

NPR may not be the best platform to reveal secrets, but privately, the robot might have gotten an answer. Alexander Reben, BlabDroid's maker, says that's what he was designed for. Reben was studying robot human interaction at MIT when they decided to put a camera on the robot to see how people would respond when no one else was around.

Made of cardboard, BlabDroid asks tough, personal questions that many people are apparently willing to answer.
"It asked a guy from the Boston Marathon who wandered into the lab randomly, 'What do you do here?' " Reben says. "And he laid down on the floor and started saying 'Man, you know my flight has been grounded, and I really want to go home.' There's something here if this guy goes and tells a robot something that he wouldn't tell a person that he just met in that area..."

Read the full article at its source: