Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This wall-climbing robot will teach kids to code!

"Can a wall-climbing robot teach your kid to code?

 Last month, a few hand-sized, hexagonal robots took over a third-grade classroom in Southborough, Massachusetts. They climbed a whiteboard and drew all over it while flashing multicolored LEDs and chirping musically.  All the while, they were teaching kids to code.

Meet Root  — a robot being beta-tested by its creators at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The Wyss team hopes Root will soon roll into the gap between the growing enthusiasm for K-12 computer science and the lack of qualified teachers.  With Root’s help, they claim, any teacher can become a computer

“Root’s job is to celebrate the code you create by bringing it to life,” said Justin Werfel, a senior research scientist at Wyss. Root magnetically clings to whiteboards (most of which are metal-backed) where it acts out programs that students compose on iPads that are wirelessly linked to the robot.
Unlike other educational robots — such as Bee-Bots, Dash & Dot, and Lego Mindstorms — that are geared to a specific age range, Root is meant to span from pre-kindergarten to college. With black sides and a plain white top crossed with LEDs, Root is deliberately un-cuddly and unadorned — a highly functional, sensor-packed box that can draw with a marker inserted in its middle.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Robot that will fold, press and ‘perfume’ your laundry set to invade households in 2018

SEE IT: Robot that will fold, press and ‘perfume’ your laundry set to invade households in 2018

A space-age appliance straight out of “The Jetsons” could lighten the load of the laundry-weary masses.
FoldiMate, a California-based startup is looking to sell a solution to a first world problem for a first world price.

The robot, slated to cost between $700 to $850, has the sole purpose of folding laundry twice as fast as the average human could.

Additionally it is able to “de-wrinkle” pants and dress shirts with steam and it also “perfumes” them as it goes, according to the commercial.

A space-age appliance straight out of “The Jetsons” could lighten the load of the laundry-weary masses.
FoldiMate, a California-based startup is looking to sell a solution to a first world problem for a first world price.

FoldiMate takes ten seconds to fold, steam and perfume your laundry.

Apparently folding laundry is a tedious enough task that the FoldiMate has started to generate interest among those who truly despise basic household chores.
Its commercial on YouTube, posted less than a month ago, has nearly 2 million views and almost 2,000 likes.

According to FoldiMate’s website, more than 65,000 people have registered to be notified when preorders begin.

Read the full article at its source: 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Genius 12-Year-Old Dominican Boy Makes Robotic Toys Out of Cardboard Boxes"

Inspiring! STEM Brilliance in the midst of poverty!

"Genius 12-Year-Old Dominican Boy Makes Robotic Toys Out of Cardboard Boxes

When he was collecting cardboard boxes, Jasuel Rivera’s grandmother thought he was just making a mess. And like any Dominican matriarch she asked him about “ese reguero.” Jasuel, 12, tinkered with the boxes until eventually he was building robotic toys powered by things like syringes.

According to Zona5, Jasuel’s family is not able to buy him the toys he wants, so he took to the Internet and books to learn how to create his own. Now, he has 12, including a functional semi truck, trailer, and other equipment you might find at a construction site that are all made out of recycled materials. “I didn’t have money to buy one, but I saw one like this on the Internet, so I made my own,” he said. “I liked it, so I kept on doing it.”

He has been very influenced by mathematician Blaise Pascal’s law on fluid mechanics, which he can better explain than me. Pascal’s law led him to trying different liquids to power his toys. In the end, he said water was the best choice."

 See the full article at its source:   

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Project-Based Robotics for Middle School

Nice video this one. I've never had the opportunity to interview this gentleman, but his ideas are very similar to those that are detailed in my book, Getting Started with LEGO Robotics!

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, June 2, 2016

Student Robot Sumo - University Students, Middle School Students, whatevah!

Robot Sumo Event Featured in Scientific American, Vice & Ars Technica

Scoring a tech media hat-trick, The Cooper Union's 2016 Robot Sumo event has been featured by Scientific AmericanVice and Ars Technica. The annual competition takes place during the End of Year Show opening night. The students of Professor Brian Cusack's mechatronics class must build their own robots that are able to autonomously stay in the ring against their opponents. The winner is usually, “the one that malfunctions the least," Prof. Cusack is quoted as saying.  

Middle Schoolers use LEGO Robotics Materials!

Girls (and boys) Learn H S Math with Robots

Students, especially girls, benefit from using robots to learn math

American Canyon high school and middle school students have so enjoyed working with robotics that they sometimes don’t realize that they’re also learning mathematics in the process.

This kind of learning has delighted educators and parents, particularly with respect to young girls, who often struggle or lose interest in math and science once they reach middle school.

“What kid is not going to like playing with robotics,” said American Canyon Middle School Principal Dan Scudero. “They don’t always realize they’re learning math at the same time initially. Later on they realize, ‘Oh, I’m learning math,’ and having fun, which is what it should be.”

Scudero’s school originated the robotics program in American Canyon four years ago. There, math teacher Tammy Lee first introduced sixth graders to small modular robots called Linkbots in one of her classes.
The addition of robotics excited many students at ACMS, including sophomore Sara Jahangiri and freshman Katrina Cole, both of whom are now at American Canyon High School.

“It’s just a great experience,” said Jahangiri. “The main reason I do it is because of the team. I play sports but robotics is always a team I can depend on. We work well together, and we learn together.”
Cole said she enjoyed math before working with Linkbots, but also admitted the subject was challenging for her at times when she was younger.

But “when we were able to incorporate robots in it, it helped you pick up on the topics quicker” in math classes, she said.

Her mother, Melissa Cole, has seen nothing but good things come of her daughter’s participation in robotics.
“She has grown with it [the program],” said Melissa Cole outside ACHS teacher Scott Marsden’s classroom, where high school robotics has steadily grown the past two years.

When Katrina was in seventh grade and preparing to attend UC Davis’ C-STEM Day, a type of Super Bowl for Linkbot students, her mother remarked how good the activity was for her math skills.

Katrina insisted to her mother that she wasn’t employing math.

“It was so much fun for her,” said mom, echoing Principal Scudero’s words, “she didn’t even realize she was using math.”

“When she talks about it [robotics], she’s speaking a whole other language,” her mother added. “She speaks code, and I don’t understand one bit of it.”

The program has been good for Katrina in other ways.

“She has become a lot more confident in it [robotics],” Melissa Cole said. “As the years have progressed, she’s understanding what she is doing and knows how to resolve a problem when she sees it on the board.”
“This program has definitely kept her more involved in math,” she added.

That’s precisely what Scudaro wants to hear.

“You can see it in the research over and over again,” said Scudero. “Girls fall out of math at the middle school level, and science too.”

“It’s a weird societal thing we gotta break,” he added. “They’re just becoming teenagers, they’re trying to figure out who they are, and if you look at the media, until recently there haven’t been a lot of positive images of women in mathematical fields or scientific fields.”

The goal is to instill in all young girls that “it’s OK to be a brainiac,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”
That feeling is shared by officials at the Center for Integrated Computing and STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] Education at UC Davis, which has been pushing for K-12 schools to blend robotics with math curriculum.

“Our goal is to get kids from first grade to twelfth interested in math and robotics,” said Assistant Director Calvin Chen.

Giving students “something tangible, a robot they can play with,” motivates them to learn the math and programming behind making the technology operate.

“It’s not all abstract,” said Chen, referring to the traditional model of teaching math exclusively out of a textbook.

The Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education is also emphasizing math/robotics for teen girls. It runs a summer camp at UC Davis for them — one for boys is coming soon, too — and it has helped school districts in Benicia and Mount Diablo start their own camps as well.

The Center hosts the annual C-STEM Day competition, in which student teams from high schools and middle schools throughout California spend an entire day programming Linkbots.

American Canyon students have made an impression at the competition, winning awards the last three years, including an ACMS team that place first in the state in 2015.

“They did really well,” said Chen about this year’s teams from ACHS and ACMS. “They were by far the most represented [school] district at the event.”

“At the awards ceremony they were doing cheers and chants,” Chen said. “Everybody else was [claps his hands], you just heard clapping” from the other schools.

But the American Canyon students behaved as if they were at a football rally. “They were cheering AC!” said Chen. “It was like a sports event.”

He said the enthusiasm “was good. I think it motivated some of the other kids [from other districts]” to do more next year, according to Chen.

Chen was complimentary of Lee and Marsden for working so well together and building a “pipeline” between the middle school and high school for robotics.

Marsden agreed, saying: “The strength of our AC Robotics team, and what distinguishes us from other schools is that we have a strong middle-high school collaboration that allows students to transition from middle school robotics to high school robotics.”

Read the full article at its source: