Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dancing LEGO Robot - Great Way to Immerse Kids in STEM Learning

Here's a very worthwhile and impressive robotics-based learning activity posted by Teach Kids Engineering. There's good additional info about this project at the website: 

"Lego Mindstorms Dancing Robot

This week our family project with the kids was to build and program a Lego Minstorms Dancing Robot. I thought this would be a great exercise in computer programming for the kids because a computer program is just a sequence of instructions, and a dance routine is a series of movements. Programming a robot to make specific movements in a set order seemed like a great way for them to get an immediate visual reward for their efforts.
First, watch the video ... to see the robot in action and then read beyond if you want to see more details on how it was all done..."

Read the full piece at its source 

Want to make LEGO Robotics an exciting part of kids' learning? This book is a great way to get started!  

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Well Designed LEGO Robots

These are some very well designed LEGO Robots!!! Well done Droids!

First Lego League (FLL) 2015 World Class Run (826 points)

Let's get more kids doing this!

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Click on book cover for information

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hospitality Robots... NOW!

From Forbes...

"Technology Invades Hospitality Industry: Hilton Robot, Domino Delivery Droid, Ritz-Carlton Mystique...

... Remember Rosie, the robot-with-an-attitude that served the family on “The Jetsons”? Now, Hilton Hotels has launched their answer to Rosie. “She’s” named Connie and is currently being tested at the Hilton McLean Virginia, in the heart of the Washington, DC, sprawlosphere. Connie, cutely named for the brand’s founder, Conrad Hilton, is a quasi-concierge robot powered by Watson artificial intelligence from IBM.

Similarly, in a West Coast nod to Rosie, Aloft Cupertino Hotel, in the heart of Silicon Valley, recently deployed a personable little robot dubbed Botlr that can come to your floor, summoning the elevator for himself, to assist you with items you’ve forgotten and such.

Domino’s Pizza is now introducin DRU, a robot, uh, “autonomous delivery vehicle” for pizzas in Australia.  It has what’s described as a cheeky (perhaps Rosie-like) personality, powered by artificial intelligence, and will, for the time being, be confined to bike paths and bridges, rather than actual roads. And although DRU has what’s described as extensive obstacle avoidance technology, there aren’t any plans to bring DRU yet to the U.S., where Domino’s continues to learn the hard way that pedestrian and opposing-driver lives have value.

These robots that are sproutin’ up all over in hospitality and customer service, such as Connie, Botlr and DRU, are deployments of customer service technology in a way that is very visible to customers– unmissable, in fact.."

Read the full article at its source: 


Inside the Japanese Hotel Staffed by Robots

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pizza Delivery Robot: What do you tip it?

From Washing Post...

"Domino’s has a robot delivering pizzas in Australia

Domino’s latest “deliveryman” stands 3 feet tall and doesn’t need to be tipped. It has ferried pizzas in Brisbane at a top speed of 12 mph, and the company’s Australian master franchise said it’s excited for what could come next.
“We have a relentless passion to push the boundaries of what’s possible with pizza delivery,” said Michael Gillespie, chief digital officer for Domino’s in Australia. “As we get further, it’s not hard to believe that we might have a store with a couple of [robots] that are doing deliveries.”
Domino’s has started using a robotic cart named DRU, which stands for Domino’s Robotic Unit, to deliver its offerings. So far Domino’s has only one DRU. The prototype was developed with an Australian start-up, Marathon Robotics.
The DRU (pronounced Drew) drives on bike paths and sidewalks to find the most efficient, fastest route. Gillespie pointed to its ability to circumvent heavy traffic as a key advantage over vehicles. DRU is not being used on roadways, and legal approval is a hurdle..."

Read the full article at its source:  

Be sure to check this one out, also...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Teaching STEM Skills with Robots

Good article from T.H.E. Journal ... YES, teaching STEM with robots is exciting and effective... a great way to get kids on board and have their natural passion for things drive their STEM learning... This approach works with LEGO Robotics and others, too... 


 "Teaching STEM Skills with NAO Robots

Middle school educator Frank DiMaria uses robots as an interdisciplinary tool to help students learn problem-solving and gain skills they'll need in the future.

Technology teachers face a number of challenges within the STEM fields, like teaching students how to solve problems and providing them with the skills they'll need to succeed at non-scripted jobs or jobs that may not exist yet.

"There are a lot of jobs where you have to figure out the answer to a problem on your own. Your boss gives you a task and says, 'go do it.' I think the importance of STEM is teaching kids how to identify a problem and design a solution to that problem on their own," said Chad Allen, STEM Coordinator, Fort Mill School District, Fort Mill, SC.

To afford Fort Mill School District students the opportunity to learn and hone the STEM skills needed to succeed in the 21st century, Brian Spittle, our director of technology services, searched for an engaging platform. He wanted a platform that was approachable by elementary and middle school students and that could introduce them to computer programing. He found that platform in Aldebaran's NAO robots.
"One of the things we liked about the NAO is that it is open-ended. It doesn't have to be a rote kind of curriculum. You learn the basics, and then you can used your creativity to really have it do what you want it to do. The student has a lot of flexibility," said Spittle.

The NAO robot (pronounced "now") allows me as a middle school technology teacher to introduce my students to computer programing while they also learn a variety of skills related to STEM. For example, when my students program the robot to walk a geometric shape, they are applying skills they learned in other classes. When they write code for the robot they are applying computer science and basic technology skills, but they are also thinking logically, like mathematicians or engineers.

"Students have to design solutions to problems," said Allen. "It goes beyond algorithms and mathematical thinking. A big part of it is logic and teaching kids how to think. The programing and math go hand-in-hand because there is some computation involved in programing. But I also think there is logical thinking, teaching kids how to think logically about the next step in their coding with the robot," said Allen.

Learning by Failing
One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching with NAO robots is stepping back and observing as students tackle a problem. By its very nature computer programing requires steadfast trial and error. Students write code and test it over and over again until it is flawless.

"A big part of STEM is to allow students to problem solve and to fail. That's important. You have be able to see what's working and what's not working and go back and redesign. That's a huge part of STEM," said Allen. "Failure is OK sometime and we need to teach kids that, because that's the only way you're going to become successful.... It's not always how things happen but how you deal with adversity. That's a huge part of what this kind of stuff is," said Allen.

Clearly NAO robots are ideal for teaching STEM skills, but creative, technically savvy teachers can integrate NAO robots into any number of subjects.."

Read the full article at its source: 


Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cute and Adorable and Lovely ROBOT... and AVAILABLE, too!

I predict the honeymoon will soon be over and human and robot will have to work out just what it is the human wants the robot to do and what he wants to do for himself... And actually, in that sense, it will be a big step forward for people. We'll have to move beyond "The robot can do it, do it all!"... on to, "These are the things I WANT to do for myself, anyway, because doing this is good for me and my kind!!!" A next level of Human Existence? And, ho ho, we just may get to the point of "Please, robot, let ME do that for YOU!"



"4 Amazing Things This 'Thinking' Robot Can Do: Social robot Pepper is powered with artificial intelligence that makes it the next best thing to a helpful personal companion."

"...Robots are getting smarter by the day.
The French robotics company Aldebaran brought Pepper--its "thinking robot"--onstage at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, Sunday to show off some of its upcoming features and paint a picture of what life with robots will look like in the near future.
Designed as a "humanoid robot" that can live with humans, Pepper is built with artificial intelligence technology from IBM's cognitive computing engine "Watson." More than 7,000 Peppers have been sold for roughly $2,000 each to consumers in Japan who use it for things like social companionship--Pepper can understand human voices and respond to questions. Aldebaran plans to begin selling the robot in the U.S. this year, though it hasn't settled on a price yet.
Here are five of the impressive skills that Pepper will be able to demonstrate in the near future when it co-exists with humans in the U.S.
1. Analyze human behavior over time.
One of the reasons Aldebaran says Pepper can "think" is related to the robot's ability to predict what humans will want before they ask for it. An example Aldebaran's chief of innovation Rodolphe Gelin shared during the panel involves a situation where an elderly person has been alone for multiple days. "The robot could say, 'For two days you haven't talked to anyone except me. Do you want me to call your son or your grandchildren?'" Gelin said. Pepper can also learn about human preferences to recommend things based on previous experiences. "With continual use, it will get better and better," said John Anderson, an IBM software developer.
Aldebaran's Pepper onstage at SXSW.
2. Speak with expressive gestures. 
Creating a seamless relationship with humans requires a robot that talks like humans and moves like humans, according to Gelin. "Gestures are very, very important," he said. "We say that 80 percent of the meaning of an exchange comes from the gesture, not the speech." For this reason, Pepper is programmed to use what Gelin calls "social movements" and respond differently depending on whether a person is happy or sad. It also knows how to address humans like a normal person would, so it won't sneak up on you from behind and tap you on the shoulder, Gelin said.
3. Share experiences with its telepresence.
For an elderly person who can't attend an event like a wedding, Pepper can be used as a "telepresence." An iPad mounted to its chest makes Facetiming with the person fairly simple. Though its movement is somewhat limited by the fact that it operates on wheels, Aldebaran says it is working on a new robot called "Romeo" that will have legs, according to Gelin. "That's a use case we definitely believe in," he said.
4. Act as your personal chief technology officer.
One of the most useful aspects of having Pepper will likely involve connecting the robot to other devices. For example, if a person wears a fitness tracker and hasn't reached his or her daily 10,000 step count, Pepper could suggest a route that would help the person reach their target. "Pepper could be the hub as a new interface for all of those devices in your home," said Steve Carlin, VP of marketing at development at SoftBank, which acquired Aldebaran last year for an undisclosed sum..."

Read the full article at its source:  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Girls and Student Robotics: A Great Match!

"Michigan girl power fuels high school robotics growth"
"The FIRST robotics season kicked off this past weekend and organizers are pleased to see more girls participating Lori Higgins
As the state's wildly popular robotics season kicks off this month, organizers are noticing a welcome trend: More girls are joining teams and more are taking on leadership roles.

That's key in a state that has invested heavily in boosting education in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — and where there are many efforts under way to get girls into those fields. Michigan has excelled in robotics, the so-called sport of the mind. The state has 411 teams, far more than the second-highest state of California, which has 258 teams. And Michigan teams have a track record of excelling at the world finals.

In robotics, the growth in female participation is happening at all levels — on coed teams and all-girls teams.
"I'm seeing an uptick," said Gail Alpert, president of the state's robotics association. "They're taking on critical roles. They're drivers. They're coaches. They're mentors."
The growth is happening amid widespread efforts to get more girls to consider science careers. In January, the Michigan Science Center launched the STEMinista Project to encourage more interest in STEM careers among middle-school girls.

"Research tells us that middle school can be a make or break time in building interest in STEM and STEM careers," said Tonya Matthews, president and CEO of the center.

Girls who sign up to be STEMinistas will have access to special programming at the science center in Detroit and an opportunity to meet and learn from women in STEM careers.

The project is aimed at combating numbers that show that while half the workforce is made up of women, less than 25% of the STEM workforce includes women. Also, statistics compiled for the project show that half the women in STEM careers leave those jobs in the first 10 years..."

Read the full article at its source:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

BRONX Student Robotics Team Gets Continued Support from NY Yankees!

From my In Box... a letter from Gary Israel, long term coach and mentor of the 2TrainRobotics team from Morris High School - Bronx, NY... Congratulations Gary and Team!!!!

Dear friends of the Morris Robotics Team,

I want to thank everyone for their support of the team over the past 17 years.
Below is a copy of this year's letter from the New Yankees who have supported the team financially and honored the team on the field at Yankee Stadium for 15 consecutive years.

I also want to invite you to the Javits Center on Saturday March 12 & Sunday March 13 when the Morris H.S Robotics team will competing for the 16th consecutive year in the NYC Robotics Competition.

Warm regards,

Friday, March 4, 2016

LEGO Robotics Materials are NOT Toys!

Yes, the same LEGO Robotics materials that students use for STEM Learning activities can be used for professional level robotics projects, as well. These are not toys and all professional roboticists are familiar with them and use them on occasion.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

LEGO ROBOTICS - Kids' natural love for designing and building things is a force of nature...

Kids can build REAL ROBOTS that do real things with LEGO Robotics materials. It's an exciting way to learn STEM subjects. Kids' natural love for designing and building things is a force of nature; why not harness it and let it drive their education? Getting started guiding and supporting kids in robotics is easy and explained in detail in the book below.

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Little Shi Tzu meets Robot Dog... YEAH!

Dear Google: Can I borrow your robot dog so that I can introduce my neighbor's hyper-annoying little yapster to it and straighten the little bugger out about who actually owns our block? Please? I'm willing to bet that long after the little Shi Tzu tires, the big dog of steel will keep on going. What do you think?