Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Kamegami: biologically inspired foldable "toy" robot bugs may lay good groundwork for Robotics learning in school

Even  thought its great that kids get to learn Robotics in school, how wonderful that they also have the opportunity to learn at home. This variety from Mattel is to be offered at a variety of retail outfits. How great it will be when kids commonly come to school already knowing a good deal about robots ...and school, instead of them starting them at square one, builds on their homegrown knowledge and takes them... much further!

Very nice review (below) from TechCrunch:

"Mattel releases biologically inspired foldable robot bugs

Mattel’s been taking great pains to update its product lines for a plugged-in generation of kids. Last month, the toy maker teamed up with Osmo for an iPad-ready update to its popular Hot Wheels line, and now the company is enlisting the help of another tech startup, Dash Robots. The pair’s first collaboration is Kamigami, a robotics platform that lets kids build their own robotic bugs.
Due out on Target store shelves today, the toy features a six-legged robotic kit that should take roughly an hour to assemble, using foldable plastic sheets. Each also comes with a different origami shell that turns them into various bugs, like mantises, ladybugs and scorpions.
Both Dash and its first major consumer product are an outgrowth of U.C. Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, which draw inspiration from nature to build more efficient robotics. 

“We had shown off our robots at schools and outreach events to show off what robotics research is like,” cofounder Nick Kohut tells TechCrunch. “Kids just went totally nuts for them and the parents were asking where they could buy them. So we started selling them on our own and had some mild success.”
Dash began life as a UCB spinoff by selling its own kit for $65 a pop, ultimately teaming up with Mattel to help mainstream the product. For obvious pricing and kid-friendly reasons, Kamigami isn’t particularly complex, as far as biomimetic robots go, but the product does draw inspiration from its biological counterparts. The connection is particularly apparent in the product’s locomotion, using a stiff-legged gait to move quickly across a surface. 

Each $50 robot features an accelerometer, gyroscope and an IR transmitter and receiver that allow them to interact with their surroundings and one another for games like freeze tag and “sumo,” in which they relentlessly bash into one another. They can also be controlled remotely through the mobile app, or preprogrammed with a basic coding application designed to teach some programming basics..."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trashbots: Inexpensive Robotics Kits for Students

Trashbots Aims to Bring Inexpensive Robotics Kits to Students

In remote and impoverished areas of the world, teaching children science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM skills can involve a lot of expensive resources.

It requires computers, labs, buildings, high-speed Internet, power supplies, and pricey robotics kits with trained instructors.

That’s a problem Rohit and Sidharth Srinivasan saw first-hand during four trips to three Indian orphanages from 2013 to 2016 to teach kids STEM skills. They went on the trips with the Austin-based Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports orphans worldwide.

And Paul Austin, ex-chief architect of National Instruments, witnessed the same thing during visits to orphanages in Africa and India from 2011 to 2016.

From teaching in India, Rohit Srinivasan and his brother learned that the kids there were very smart, but they completely lacked in creativity and problem-solving skills.

Also, the current STEM programs weren’t easy to replicate.
“We needed a way to go about scaling STEM programs for kids,” Rohit Srinivasan said.
Teaching STEM skills to kids is a problem even in the U.S. at schools with very tight budgets, he said.
Teachers need to find ways to teach robotics easily and affordably in the U.S. and worldwide, said Austin. During his 28-year career at National Instruments, Austin helped create the Lego Mindstorms NXT and EV3, programmable robotics kits used in classrooms today.

In Austin, the Srinivasan brothers joined forces with Paul Austin to found Trashhbots in spring of 2016 to create robotics kits and a curriculum that costs around $80 per kit and can be controlled through Bluetooth technology with a smartphone or tablet. They partnered with the Miracle Foundation, Science in a Suitcase and a board design shop called TenX to bring the project to life.

Trashbots requires minimal infrastructure, Rohit Srinivasan said.
There’s no need for web, cellular data, PCs or AC power supply, he said. Trashbots’ kits run on rechargeable batteries.

Trashbots did an initial test of its kits in India but officially did a much bigger launch at South by Southwest EDU in Austin in March of 2017. At that event, Trashbots won the student pitch competition and had a booth at the Expo where they received feedback from a lot of teachers.

In April, Trashbots was selected to joinTarmac Texas, a nine-month-long startup accelerator backed by 3M and CALSO and based at Galvanize. They have office space at Galvanize and they regularly meet with mentors and attend sessions to learn about building out their business.

Trashbots is far less expensive than pre-existing STEM and robotics kits and is easier to use than do it yourself kits, Rohit Srinivasan said.

“The do it yourself kits are lower cost but require a huge amount of work to go in and teach how to use the technologies,” Sidharth Srinivasan said.

Trashbots’ kit components include the Trashbot brain, software, components, curriculum, and trash or items sourced from the local environment such as water bottles, rubber bands, sticks, tape, PVC pipes and more, said Sidharth Srinivasan..."

Read the full article at its source:

Using Robots to Help Teach Students with Autism

Teachers see benefits of robots in classroom

Chanute Elementary teachers who witnessed a desktop robot leading a multi-stepped math lesson say they can envision several ways a social robot could benefit student learning.
The smart robots designed by Van Robotics are being developed as a “study buddy or tutor” that will guide students through a lesson, adapt lessons to a student’s ability, respond to a child’s performance with words of encouragement or notice a lack of focus and redirect the student, or ask if the child needs to take a break.

“The demo was great in guiding the students through a step-by-step process in completing multistep problems,” said CES Title reading teacher Patty Small. “As long as the technology holds the students’ attention, it could benefit them by teaching them to become automatic and fluent in this process and any other problem-solving activities that it may address.”

“I would really enjoy trying this out in my classroom with kids that need some one-on-one time,” said second grade teacher Nikki Jacobs, especially for those occasions when teachers feel they have tried everything they know to help a child, but it’s not working.

“As far as helping students with Autism,  the possibilities would be endless,” said fifth grade teacher Madison Mitchell. “I could see it being used for social group, speech pathology, reading and writing individualize lessons, and really lending itself to the child’s brain ability.”

Shelly Kuhn, a speech pathologist who works with children at CES and Humboldt, has seen the results of using her robot Aisoy as part of her speech and language sessions.

“With my students I have seen increased attention to task, a reduction of off-task behaviors, improved social interaction, and working for longer amounts of time before scheduled breaks,” Kuhn said.
With the support of administration at the ANW Education Cooperative and a USD 413 Foundation grant, Aisoy joined Kuhn’s speech-language program two years ago.

“Research has shown that children on the Autism Spectrum have difficulty understanding social language.  When we speak, students must focus not only on the content of the messages but also try to understand the nuances which accompany our speech, such as pitch changes, volume, inflection, gestures, eye contact and many facial expressions,” Kuhn explained. “That can be very overwhelming for them. With the robot, students can focus on the content of the message first and gradually learn the social factors of communication in a non-threatening approach.”

Read the full article at its source:

Teaches Math with Robotics

"Southeast Education Student Teaches Math with Robotics

Southeast Missouri State University senior Tyson Roth of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, is fine-tuning his math teaching skills with the help of robots.
Roth, a middle school education major, is student teaching at the Danby-Rush Tower Middle School in the Jefferson R-7 district to fulfill his student-teaching requirements. He is assisting Hillary Hensley, a 2011 Southeast alumna, with STEM lessons and the use of LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot kits to teach math and technology to seventh grade students.

“Tyson has been a great asset to my classroom. His content knowledge is exceptional and he was totally prepared to be in the classroom,” Hensley said. “Having a student teacher that is ready to be immersed in the classroom work from day one creates a dynamic classroom that supports student learning and gives them more resources.”

Read about how he’s using robotics to help students think outside the box while using the creative side of their brains to solve engineering problems.

On learning how to use robotics in the University’s EDvolution Center:
Dr. Bill Bratberg, the associate professor of middle and secondary education, suggested that I teach a lesson with the EDvolution Center’s robots for the Perryville School District. This project also tied in with what I was learning about teaching math. The lesson dealt with finding circumferences and programming the robots in a simulation that required the robot to capture an alien and return to earth. The district liked the lesson so much that they purchased robot kits and have introduced the lessons into their curriculum.
Working with the robots from the EDvolution Center helped me prepare for my student teaching at Jefferson. If I didn’t have that experience, the Jefferson students would have to teach me. The Center has great technology for preparing teachers to create hands-on lesson plans.

On why robotics helps his students learn:
The robots give the students an opportunity to apply what they are learning to hands-on projects. Sometimes, I tell them to just try. In the real world, engineers are going to test and to see what goes wrong and tweak it..."

Read the full article at its source:

Friday, October 6, 2017

5th grade class given Lego robotics sets

Nice story from

"McKinleyville 5th grade class given Lego robotics sets"
By Hunter Cresswell

"The students built robots and can learn to code through the Lego sets contributed to the fifth-grade teacher Amber Coley’s classroom. Hunter Cresswell — The Times-Standard
On Tuesday morning one Morris Elementary School fifth-grade class was surprised with Lego sets that will be used in lessons to introduce students to science, technology, engineering, art and math fields.
The two Lego robotics sets, two sets of miscellaneous bricks and a base plate pack were requested by teacher Amber Coley and paid for with funding from Chevron.

“This was something I’m super excited Chevron Fuel Your School provided,” Coley told her students.
Though she said she was excited, it was her students who were really enthusiastic.

“What’s in the box?” Carter Reves asked from the back of the class before the plain cardboard box containing the Lego surprise was opened.

The more than two dozen students in Coley’s class crowded around her for the reveal.

“Legos!” the students exclaimed as Coley held the sets above her head so all the kids could see.
Chevron public affairs field manager Marian Catedral-King said the program gets funding during the month of October when people gas up at Chevron gas stations. Every 8 gallons of gas purchased gives $1 to the school district the gas station is in, she said. In September, teachers across the states log onto and submit funding proposals for their classrooms. Chevron picks certain projects to fund, the most recent of which is Coley’s STEAM project with the Lego sets, Catedral-King said.

“Since 2013, we’ve spent $400,000 in these counties,” she said about Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino and Lake counties.

This includes $183,000 in funding for schools across Humboldt County and $37,000 in funding for McKinleyville schools, Catedral-King said.

Coley said she wants to use these sets to teach her students to work together to build things and to code the Lego robot named “Milo” to perform simple tasks.

After the Lego sets were revealed, Coley broke her class up into groups two of which were given the robotics sets and followed instructions to build Milo while the other groups were given buckets of Legos to work together to create their own version of a robot without instructions. The different groups created a variety of designs for robots.

“We’re building a spaceship,” student Damie Leydecker said. “We’re going to Mars, we’re going to Venus, we’re going to the sun!”

Damie, Carter and the rest of their group were all very excited to get their hands on Milo and write code.
McKinleyville Union School District superintendent Jan Schmidt said programs like this help teachers who sometimes pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets.

“Sometimes we face challenges because our budget, our dollars, don’t go as far as we’d like,” she said.

“You have one of the most fabulous teachers in the district, Mrs. Coley,” Schmidt added.

Read the full story at its source:;postID=7192654146535475487

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Little Bits' Droid Inventor Kit: wonderful, highly engaging blend of fun, inspiration, and solid STEM Learning

The following, I gleaned from materials supplied on behalf of Little Bits. This looks to be a wonderful, highly engaging blend of fun, inspiration, and solid STEM Learning... Check out the Droid Inventor Kit, but also enjoy these 2 wonderful videos!

LittleBits has introduced its latest product, the Droid Inventor Kit. For the first time ever, kids can create their own Droid and bring it to life! Using littleBits electronic blocks and the free Droid™ Inventor app, they’ll teach their R2 Unit new tricks and take it on 16+ missions.

With invention at its core, the Droid Inventor Kit fosters creativity and problem-solving skills. In-app challenges encourage kids to reconfigure the littleBits technology in new and unique ways, in combination with household items, so they can create their own custom Droids such as a delivery Droid, a room guardian, and more.

The Droid Inventor Kit includes all the components needed for kids to create their very own Droid. A free app (iOS and Android) completes the experience, providing step-by-step instructions and how-to videos.
  • The app guides kids as they put together their Droid and control it in Drive Mode, Self-Nav, Force Mode, and more, making it the ultimate galactic sidekick.
  • After mastering their Droid Inventor skills, kids continue on to challenges that spark creativity and inspire them to create unique new Droids.
  • Each littleBits electronic block has a different function such as a power, motor, or sensor, which kids can use with their Droid in new and exciting ways.
  • Included stickers and in-app missions encourage kids to customize their Droid using crafts or household objects, giving their Droid its own special personality.
  • Kids will take pride in creating any Droid they imagine, and parents will love the endless play opportunities.

About littleBitslittleBits empowers kids around the world to become inventors. Founded in 2011 by Ayah Bdeir, its innovative platform of easy-to-use electronic blocks allows anyone to create and prototype with electronics, independent of age, gender or technical ability. As the leader in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) learning, littleBits believes in creating the conditions of invention by creating products that encourage self-directed exploration and problem solving; support grit and tenacity; and create a safe place to experience both failure and accomplishment. The company is dedicated to successfully bridging the gender gap with its gender-neutral platform, attracting an industry high thirty five percent of young girls to invent with littleBits. By embracing STEAM, both girls and boys can invent solutions to the problems that matter to them. The company’s products have won over 150 industry awards in the toy and education industries. littleBits is headquartered in New York. For more information and inspiration, go to

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Kids Should Join a Robotics Team

There are far more than 5 good reasons... Still, this is a very nice article from LA Times:

"5 reasons your child should join a robotics team

As students prepare to head back to school this fall, the pressure is on for parents and teachers to find activities that keep kids entertained and productive. One trend that’s picking up steam is robotics.
"Robotics competitions are a great way to not only keep kids engaged after classes end, but to provide invaluable learning above and beyond what they can get in a typical classroom setting,” says Don Bossi, president of FIRST, a STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) advocacy nonprofit. “One of the biggest benefits is that kids get set up to find professional success, but they have a lot of fun while doing it.”
FIRST is a sport for the mind where every kid can go pro, and its students are even recognized with varsity letters in many states. Millions of students have participated in FIRST’s hands-on programs for kids ages 6-18, and alumni report improved problem-solving, time management, conflict resolution and communication skills. There are many more reasons to consider robotics programs for your child, and here are the top five.

1. They’ll learn to be creative and solve problems

Students must navigate restraints, including limited time and resources to meet deadlines and challenge requirements, but they won’t let that stop them. You’ll be amazed to see how each team comes prepared with a different solution to the same problem — including the innovative ways teams design and build their robots.

2. They’ll master teamwork and collaboration

Just like any other team sport, camaraderie is developed in robotics, too. Students work together to solve problems and meet goals. Plus, there’s a role for everyone: team responsibilities range from engineering and coding to fundraising and marketing. By working with others and integrating ideas born from teammates’ diverse backgrounds and schools of thought, students learn the true meaning of collaboration.

3. They’ll find meaningful role models
Educators and parents play a large role in robotics teams, but other STEM professionals are just as crucial. Many teams have relationships with local engineers, computer scientists, marketers and more who lend their expertise and guide students through construction and competition. These relationships often lead to internships, networking opportunities and jobs down the line. Many students pay it forward, too, and mentor their old teams once they graduate.

4. They’ll make friends for life
Robotics is a great way for kids to meet new friends, whether they’re teammates or competitors. Some competitions are international and draw students from upwards of 30 countries, making them great opportunities to expand your students’ worldview.

5. They’ll lay the groundwork for their future career
There’s a shortage of skilled STEM workers in the U.S.: In 2016, 13 STEM jobs were posted for each unemployed worker, a difference of nearly 3 million available positions. No matter which STEM field students aspire to, there’s an opportunity to hone their skills through robotics. Even if a STEM-focused career isn’t where they envision themselves, kids can gain valuable fundraising, marketing and event experience. Most importantly, robotics inspires a lifetime love of learning that is critical to success in an ever-changing workforce.
Robotics provides kids with the technical and interpersonal skills they’ll need to influence the future economy and become well-rounded adults, and it’s never too early to get involved. With high-quality education, mentorship and opportunities, any kid can find a future in STEM."

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Resources for Student Robotics

Here's a very nice collection of Robotics Resources that was sent in by reader Louisa - Thanks, Louisa!

The items below are all found on their originator's site:

"... Robotics Teaching Resources

Teaching robotics isn’t something that requires a captive audience. Instead, it’s a subject that lends itself to well to the inquiring minds of students. Find plenty of ideas and plans below to help you get started.
Robotics Lesson Plans – Find lesson plans with math, science and technology components for students from K-12, courtesy of NASA.
STEM Robotics Repository for Educational Materials – Teachers, afterschool coaches and other educational faculty members can apply for a free account to access all the educational materials this resource has to offer.
LEGO EV3 Online Courses – This site offers 10 links to free online courses that are specifically for the LEGO EV3 system.
Robot BASIC – Two retired college professors authored this free robotics resource that serves to teach young students to program.
How to Teach Robotics – This informative article from The Guardian offers several teaching ideas and links to robotics resources for different grade levels.

Robotics Study Resources

Discover valuable resources for educational robotics courses, e-books and tutorials below. Best of all, they are free.
Begin Robotics – If you begin and complete this 12-hour course in 14 days, it’s free! Use it to explore the history, anatomy and intelligence of robots.
21 Free Robotics Courses – Choose from 21 free courses that are divided into the following categories: Introduction to Robotics, Drones and Aerial Robotics, Movements, Sensors and Actuation, Learning and Cognition and Applications and Programming.
Robotics Tutorials – Browse this site to find tutorials for people with beginning, intermediate and advanced robotics skills.
Robotics EBooks – Browse seven pages of free robotics e-book selections for downloading and reading at your leisure.
Educational Robots for Absolute Beginners (Lego NXT Edition) – This self-paced course allows anyone interested in learning or teaching about LEGO NXT robotics to do it for free.

Kid’s Robotics Resources

With the world of robotics rapidly becoming more relevant, giving kids opportunities to become involved and informed is a great idea.
Robots for Kids – Discover games, projects, quizzes, videos and facts about exciting robotics topics that are geared for kids.
State-Based Robotics Camps and After School Programs – Follow this link to locate robotics-based camps or after school programs by state. To get the most up-to-date information, contact the organization that is facilitating the camp or program. – This online community for kids allows them to learn tons of new skills – including robotics-based ones – via various projects and experiments.
Cool Coding Apps and Websites for Kids – From Common Sense Media comes this list of coding apps and websites for children of different ages and abilities.
Stem Works – Browse this interesting collection of robotics activities such as making a smart umbrella or engaging in a virtual robotics lab.

Robotics Organizations

The following organizations vary in their mission, but all have something in common, which is
an interest and dedication to the field of robotics.
KISS Institute for Practical Robotics – With a mission of improving the general public’s understanding of topics in science, tech, engineering and math, our nation’s schools and communities can’t help but benefit from the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics.
IEEE Robotics and Automation Society  – This society provides access to the most current information in robotics and automation. Opportunities to connect with peers are also offered.
Robogames – Robogames is the world’s biggest open robot competition. It’s held annually in San Mateo, California and features over 50 events.
The International Federation of Robotics – Established in 1987, this organization’s goal is to connect the world of robotics internationally. It also serves as the primary global resource for robotics data.
Robot Hall of Fame – Explore the landmark achievements in robotics technology via this hall of fame established in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science.
NASA Robotics for Alliance Projects – This organization strives to create resources that will advance the implementation of future robotic space exploration missions.
FIRST – FIRST seeks to inspire young people to pursue science and tech careers via mentor-based programs that will help them build important industry-specific skills.

Robotics News and Information Resources

Browse this section to discover one or more robotics news resources that you can rely on for current and well-reported information.
Science Daily – Since 1995, this American news website has provided articles on hundreds of science topics including robotics.
Robot Magazine – Enjoy the intrigue of robotics by keeping up to date on the latest advances, events, techniques and more in the world of robotics.
MIT News – Check out over 120 news articles based on robotics on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology website.
Live Science – With comprehensive articles and interactive features, what’s not to like about this robotics news resource? Robotics News – is a favorite news resource for over 1.75 million researchers, engineers and scientists. Check it out to see why.

Robotics Blogs

Learn about the latest information and news in the robotics field via one of these helpful blogs.
Let’s Make Robots – This community site offers you the ability to learn about robots and technology and ask questions of others.
Automaton – As the IEEE Spectrum’s robotics blog, you can expect reliable information in the form of news, articles and videos.
Robotenomics – This blog explores the deeper issues that concern the robotics industry and the way the industry continues to evolve.
The Robot Report – Keep yourself informed regarding robotics industry news with The Robot Report as your guide.

Robotics Podcasts

Stay on the cutting edge of what’s happening in the robotics industry by making a standing commitment to listen to one or more of these podcasts each week.
Terrifying Robot Dog – Hosts Jonathan Stark and Kelli Shaver explore how technology is changing our relationship with our world.
Robots Podcast – Want news and opinions on robotics? Tune in to this podcast that features perspectives from leading pros in the field.
Robotics Trends Podcast – Join leading experts on this podcast to learn about current news and insights on robotics and AI.
This Week in Machine Learning and AI – Every other week, this podcast releases a new episode featuring an interview with an AI industry expert..."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Classroom Robot from Texas Instruments

"Texas Instruments Debuts Classroom Robot

Texas Instruments has unveiled the TI-Innovator Rover, a robot for use in middle and high school STEM classrooms.

Students can connect to Rover through the TI Innovator Hub with a TI-84 Plus CE or TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator and program the robot to draw, dance or crash. Other features of the robotic car include:
  • A color sensor;
  • A rechargeable battery;
  • A distance sensor;
  • An LED display;
  • A gyroscope; and
  • A marker holder for drawing on paper.
Girls Inc Dallas used Rover in a pilot and asked students to algebra and geometry to crash the robot or make it follow a line. "I'd give the Rover an A+, because I really, really love using it," said Mia Gonzales, a sophomore at Bishop Dunne Catholic High School, in a prepared statement. "It's more interactive than what you would usually do in a regular classroom with math; it's hands-on, very visual, and fun and exciting at the same time."

"Normally, I'm really distracted when it comes to math, but this was fun enough for me to pay attention," added Zamantha Romero, a freshman at Sunset High School, in a news release.

"We created Rover to demystify robotics and give students who might be intimidated by programming an easy on-ramp to learn to code," said Peter Balyta, president of TI Education Technology, in a prepared statement. "Given the sheer joy we have seen on students' faces as they learned to code during our testing phase, we are excited to see how Rover will inspire more young minds through an introduction to robotics."
The Rover is slated for availability in the United States and Canada this fall and in Europe early next year. For more information visit"

"New Kid-oriented Robot"

Good piece from CNET...

"Cue is a comedian trapped in a robot body

The new kid-oriented robot has four personalities to choose from and you can even have a text conversation with it.

Fancy a friendly game of soccer with your robot pal? San Mateo, California-based Wonder Workshop's new Cue robot will be your own personal David Beckham.

The kid-oriented Cue does bear a resemblance to Sphero's BB-8, but LED lights on its face give the robot more personality than the Star Wars droid.

It also has a more robust personality as users can choose one of four avatars, each with different character traits. You get one avatar out of the box then pay an extra $4.99 each to add the other three.

Send text messages to Cue through the app and it responds with sound, movement or snarky remarks depending on what you ask. You can also code Cue using block-based programming or Javascript.

Powered by an artificial intelligence engine, the more you interact with Cue the more it learns about you. It's a little like Anki's Cozmo robot that expresses emotions and changes how it responds based on your previous interactions.."

Best Robot Videos for KIDS!

Discover the very best robot videos YouTube has to offer - brought to you by National Geographic Kids!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Kindergarten STEM: Early​ ​Engineering​ ​with​ ​Programmable​ ​Robots

From EdTech Digest - Great article:   

"Putting the ‘Fun’ in Fundamental Concepts

"...Kids are naturally very curious, and I believe “joy of learning” is actually their default state. It’s only after they’ve been integrated with certain classroom expectations to sit quietly and follow instructions that some of that wonder starts to go away.
I try to make everything I teach fun by making sure there is always room for kids to experiment and make a project their own. That’s why the decision to teach robotics to our kindergartners was such an easy one.

We open the door for their exploration and let the children’s creativity and critical thinking lead the way.

At KID Museum in Bethesda, Maryland, we use robot kits and “coding blocks” specifically
designed for children ages four to seven to provide a fun and engaging introduction to basic coding concepts for young learners. The robots we use are called KIBO, and are customizable, allowing our kids the hands-on experience of building their own robots. When they put their robots together using building blocks where they build their code, scan it in, and experiment with their construction, they’re able to take control of their learning experience and can understand from the start exactly how their robot will work.

I feel the most successful when a child uses the tools or skills that I have provided to them to create something I never would have thought to make myself. That’s also when I see the most joy in the kids: when they feel that they’ve figured out something for themselves. Research shows that robots provide kids positive ways to express identity, communicate with peers, and engage in civic activities, so our role is to give them the initial instruction they need: put your coding blocks in a certain order, scan them, and watch the robot carry out your instructions in that order. After that, we open the door for their exploration and let the children’s creativity and critical thinking lead the way. Each block comes with a bar code for the robot to scan. Once they understand that, along with the cause and effect reaction of their commands, the rest is up to them.

I had one student who was so excited about “if/then” statements that he decided he wanted to make a robot that he could control in real time to navigate the miniature city we had created for the class. On his own, he created a program that had the robot move forward continuously but could be triggered by two different sensors (light and distance) to turn right or left. He spent the rest of that session joyfully chasing his robot around, pointing a flashlight at the light sensor or waving his hand at the distance sensor when he wanted it to turn right or left. I couldn’t believe how creative and complex the program was, and the child was in first grade!

Young people learn best by experiencing new concepts with their own minds and bodies and “figuring it out” when they encounter something they don’t yet understand. By allowing our kids to experiment, design, test, and even play with a tool that brings these lessons to life, we’re making their learning experience not only meaningful, but joyful as well..."

Mary Amoson teaches kindergarten at Brooks Elementary in Coweta County Georgia

Monday, August 21, 2017

Robotic Kitchen

Does the "robot kitchen" make life better?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Team of Cambridge students invent robot to compete in a new high-tech event: The “Rowbot” Race.


Since 1829, The Boat Race has pitted the best rowers from Oxford and Cambridge against one another in an annual regatta watched by millions.

But now a team of Cambridge students have invented a robot they think can better human athletes -  and have challenged their rivals to compete in a new high-tech event: The “Rowbot” Race.
Over the past eight months, a team of engineers, comprising five students from Peterhouse College, have created a machine which mirrors a human’s rowing technique.

From 8th grade science fair project robotic arm to changing the world

In my In Box: from Microsoft...

"Putting heart into robotics: Easton LaChappelle

Curiosity led young inventor Easton LaChappelle to dedicate six years creating accessible artificial limb technology that may eventually change the lives of people around the world – and it all started with one young girl...

 ...When Easton LaChappelle submitted a robotic arm for his 8th grade science fair, he wasn’t expecting it to turn into something so much bigger. But on that day, after meeting a little girl whose basic prosthetic arm had cost her family more than $80,000, he found his purpose. Ever since, he’s worked with determination and Microsoft tools to create affordable and exceptional robotic technology that could go on to benefit people in need of artificial limbs, as well as building the business to make it all happen."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Robot Arms Make Great Student Projects

Robotic arm (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) - A robotic arm is a type of mechanical arm, usually programmable, with similar functions to a human arm; the arm may be the sum total of the mechanism or may be part of a more complex robot. The links of such a manipulator are connected by joints allowing either rotational motion (such as in an articulated robot) or translational (linear) displacement.[1][2] The links of the manipulator can be considered to form a kinematic chain. The terminus of the kinematic chain of the manipulator is called the end effector and it is analogous to the human hand.
" arm has 3 hinge points: the shoulder, the elbow and the wrist. Because we have these 3 hinge points we can move freely in an area."