I first watched Westworld in 1973. It was a science fiction movie written by Michael Crichton and starting Yul Brynner. Yul Brynner’s character was an out-of-control android which killed visitors to a western-themed amusement park. I remember thinking before watching the movie that Yul Brynner was an odd choice of a malefactor: The last time I’d seen him was as the King of Siam in Oscar Hammerstein II’s musical The King and I; I could not imagine any actor-- no matter how talented--able to make that switch. As it turned out, he was marvelously menacing, and no one in the HBO series Westworld--not even Anthony Hopkins--was his equal.
Great news: a new Robotics Elective to help students learn computer coding will start in September at the NuView Academy of New Jersey . Teachers will also be hosting “Running Robots: Computer Coding & Special Education” - an Action Lab at the New Jersey School Boards Association’s 2016 Workshop in Atlantic City in October.
Benjamin Durham is a science teacher at Lane Technical High School in Chicago who has been using NAO in Robotics 2 and Adaptive Robotics. In Robotics 2, an intermediate-level robotics class, students use both Choregraphe and Python to program NAO. Many of these students have aspirations of going into medical or social work, and wanted hands-on experience of what robots might be able to do in these fields.
Robots in classrooms are no longer an unimaginable vision. They are being used in various schools from different parts of the world for education purposes. Humanoid robots are being used these days in teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math or the STEM subjects to children especially to places that are having problems with these subjects. This is why NAO robots are distributed to many organizations in order to improve standard education.
Education is one of the most important things that everyone should have because this has something to do with the kind of life that they can have in the future. This is the reason why the government of United Kingdom would want to improve the engagement of children with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math subjects also known as the STEM.
We are very pleased to announce today that the NAO robot from Aldebaran Robotics has two new homes: behind the wheel of a BMW Z4 electric car, and exclusively available only from RobotsLAB.
The stylish BMW Z4 is now part of the broad STEM curriculum services available from RobotsLAB as well for developers. The NAO + Car will be offered by RobotsLAB as part of our STEM-U program; a holistic and revolutionary curriculum for STEM subjects from pre-K to higher education that makes use of robots and other visual tools. Under the STEM-U umbrella, we now offer standards-aligned curricula using drones, rovers, robots, Cubelets, 3D printers, and even basketballs. All part of our mission to assist teachers and better engage students using the most innovative tools available to twenty-first century educators.
“Klaatu Barada Nikto,” that’s robot talk for...well, several things, including “don’t destroy the Earth” (I’m paraphrasing here, but that is a line from the 1950 Sci-Fi thriller, The Day the Earth Stood Still). It seems that GORT, a huge and immensely powerful robot has been brought to Earth to teach mankind a lesson; i.e., “either quit fighting among yourselves or I am going to get rid of you all before you become a danger to other planets.” And only moments before he teaches mankind that violent lesson, along comes Helen Benson, played by Patricia Neal, who utters the fail-safe phrase that began this paragraph and ends GORT’s rampage.
Fortunately, NAO, today’s premier teaching-robot, responds to English--as well as French, Japanese and most other languages. And while GORT had a bad attitude and stood fifty-plus feet tall, NAO stands less than four feet and is so unthreatening that he is welcomed as a friend and teacher by autistic children. NAO has one other advantage over GORT: there’s a lot more of them; in fact, NAO is by far the most popular robot for educational purposes.
In spite of NAO’s small size, he is of immense value to education. No STEM learning academy is more aware of that than techJOYnt in Oklahoma, City. In the movie, GORT pretty much stayed in one place while he decided what to do; NAO, part of techJOynt’s mobile STEM lab, teaches mankind all over Oklahoma City, from Rockwell Plaza to satellite campuses at Oklahoma City Community College. He is part of the techJOYnt’s Humanoid Robotics course. He helps students study Node and Python programming using touch and motion sensors; and as as mentioned earlier NAO also helps autistic students communicate.
One thing both GORT and NAO have in common is their ability to engage students. Kids love robots. Can’t keep their eyes or their hands off them. That’s why we at RobotsLAB are so pleased to partner with techJOYnt in seeking to put even more of them into schools.
GORT’s presence was enough to get an important lesson across to mankind (a lesson, I might add, that recent news indicates we didn’t learn very well). NAO’s presence is less imposing and the curriculum more varied. According to Ray Shaik, President and CEO of techJOYnT, “By using the NAO robot in class, students connect theory and practice, develop teamwork and communication skills, and gain a higher level of motivation and interest in technical career paths.” We earthlings have every reason to hope that the results will be more lasting.
What are people saying about CUBELETS, the new robotic teaching aid from start-up Modular Robotics (a spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University, with funding from the National Science Foundation)? Time Magazine called them “one of the most interesting and accessible robots on the market today... a great way to teach kids about how robots work without actually having to solder or know anything about programming.”
Online magazine MakerShed, the magazine of do-it-yourself (DIY) digital projects, says “...we love Cubelets! These magnetic robot building blocks snap together and don’t require any programming, making it easy for anyone to build their own robotic creation. What could be more fun?”
Can Aldebarans’ NAO robot actually help children with disabilities? According to anecdotal information gleaned from the experiences of educators and children at Shaler Academy in Ridgefield, N.J. and at Vanderbilt University, it seems that NAO’s calm, non-threatening approach lets autistic children feel they can come out of their shell safely and interact with NAO in a way they cannot with other children or adults. A new study is underway to find out how true those observations are.
“If you want a friend in Washington, get a robot.” The Internet seems unsure of the origins of the much older phrase, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." Either way, for the first time, it has become possible to get a robot if you want a friend.
Her name is PEPPER. PEPPER stands 48 inches tall and weighs 62 pounds. French robot developer Aldebaran designed the robot for Japanese mobile operator Softbank. Aldebaran, as you might be aware, is also the developer of the most widely distributed robot ever made, NAO. In fact, PEPPER looks like a taller NAO on a wheeled pedestal instead of two articulated legs.