Thus far, NAO and other humanoid robots are commonly used successfully to help teach children STEM subjects, as well as help children with autism learn social skills. But there is one education program using NAO in a completely different way - and with some very promising results.
I have been writing posts for RobotLab the better part of five years. Few things have excited me as much as the Double Robot virtual presence device. And absolutely nothing (not even the money) has done as much to make me feel like one of the RobotLab staff (I live over 1950 miles from the office!).
If you have an interest in robots there is a good chance you watch the Big Bang Theory. In one of my favorite scenes, Sheldon, meets the “great and powerful Woz,” Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. Not in person, you understand: no, Sheldon is there only as a voice and face on a virtual presence device: a tall, thin, remotely controlled robot on wheels with a tablet of some sort that projects an image of Sheldon and allows him to see and speak with Mr Wozniak. I have embedded the video directly below this paragraph because I think it important to view before continuing.
Welcomed Onboard Costa Diadema, flagship of the Costa Cruises fleet, Pepper and crewmember Take A Selfie.
Pepper robot, the world’s first emotional robot, keeps extending its employment range. Designed at first as a sympathetic companion for the lonely, Pepper is now working in lines that require a robot with the ability to listen to and put up with multiple humans. After discovering that Pepper the robot is now working for the French railway system, it comes as no surprise to find the robot preparing to become a mariner... No, not a space probe; the ancient type of mariner: like the guy in the poem with the albatross around his neck (in the image above Pepper has a tie around his virtual neck); a sailor on board a ship.
Seymour Papert, one of the grand old men of educational technology, died last week at age 88. Long before the personal computer and the Internet, long before this generation’s computer heroes like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs brought the digital age to the classroom, Seymour Papert and his colleagues realized that computers would change education. They developed the first computer language for children in 1967.
No, not "candy coating", but maybe just as fun. The makers of Pocky, Glico, have made a game app called Glicode that let's kids start coding by arranging the real-life cookies into various patterns and snapping a picture of the arrangement to translate it into in-game commands. The game itself is brightly colored and cute, and the cookies are ready to eat once they've been used - what more could a kid want?
Until recently Apple’s icons were a colorful, friendly bunch: like the original classic apple logo with a bite out of it; the wonderfully expressive--if silent-- speech bubble. But the latest arrival, Byte the Swift Playgrounds’ hero, while every bit as colorful, is built like the mating result of a hammerhead shark with a pear; it looks like the digital incarnation of a child’s nightmare. Yes, Yes, I know, kids will probably love it!
At the June 27, 2016 ISTE famed futurist Dr Michio Kaku spoke to the assembled educators about the coming “digitization” of many industries. He thinks it is only a matter of time--and not much time at that!--before many--maybe even most-- jobs now held by humans will be handled more cheaply and efficiently by robots. If my own past is any guide, I think he’s right. But he was also quick to point out that there were some jobs that he didn’t see replaced by artificial intelligence any time soon--if at all. Teaching, Dr Kaku believes, is one of those jobs. So far nothing digital has appeared on the horizon that looks likely to replace the classroom teacher. I’ve had reason to agree with him there too...
The momentarily stern-looking gentleman in this image gave the opening keynote address at the recent ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, June 26 through 29, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. I’m certain his face is familiar, but do you know his name? I didn’t, although I feel like I’ve seen him a thousand times on TV explaining everything from time-travel to warp-drives (neither of which exists, of course; but after he got through explaining them I did finally understand why!). And with his infectious enthusiasm and shock of gray hair, he is hard to miss.