SoftBank Robotics America today announced the launch of Tethys, an integrated development environment designed to teach coding skills. The SoftBank Group Corp. unit said the visual learning software enables students to program its Pepper humanoid robot in real time.
The standalone visual programming software can connect to their humanoid robot, Pepper, to program full functionality of the robot in real time. SBRA’s first commercially available software tool is the latest milestone in their longstanding education initiative spanning NAO, Pepper, and their partnership with the SoftBank Group.
Tethys is designed to simplify the coding experience, bridging the gap between visual programming and full script development. Regardless of computer science background, students program Pepper using high-level boxes and wires that correlate to robot and programming actions. Programs run on either a virtual robot directly in the browser or on the physical robot, providing immediate feedback on how the program ran.
In this process, students learn the principles of computer science, including problem solving, logic, and translating ideas into working programs, and have the opportunity to learn Python. Tethys is currently being used by over 1,000 students in the Boston Public Schools (BPS), Canada’s Coquitlam Schools (D43), and San Francisco Unified School (SFUSD) districts.
SoftBank Robotics has partnered with Finger Food Advanced Technology Group (ATG), a Vancouver-based software company, to develop Tethys.
Tethys teaches robot programming
“We’ve had success with Pepper and Nao as educational tools. Colleges were using a program called Choreograph to program and use them, but it was created more for demonstrations and can be tricky to use,” Kass Dawson, head of STREAM education at SoftBank Robotics America told Robotics Business Review. “We wanted to create a more stable tool that was tied to a curriculum and could showcase all of the robot’s capabilities, so we created an avatar of Pepper to interact on a tablet.”
Tethys is designed to simplify the coding experience, bridging the gap between visual programming and full script development, said SoftBank Robotics. Regardless of their computer science background, students can program Pepper using high-level boxes and wires that correlate to robot and programming actions.
“With the block-based system, they can connect actions and dialogue,” said Dawson. “You can click into it to see the actual coding.”
Programs run either on a virtual robot directly in the browser or on the physical robot. In the process, students can learn the principles of computer science, as well as Python.
“For schools that already have Pepper, Tethys is an upgrade,” said Dawson. “The tools are relatively easy for teachers to use. It’s less of an issue of understanding and more about getting them comfortable with the curriculum. Some teachers have given feedback, and more teachers are signing up to use it.”
With the debut of Tethys, the SoftBank Group is donating Peppers to match donations of software licenses through its STREAM social responsibility program, which opens to new partners today.
Discover more About Tethys and Pepper Robot
Tethys helps students learn advanced concepts and even sophisticated computer programming languages like Python. Learn more!