Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Survival of the Fittest? Kids, Your Future Could Include Battling Robots...

"To die, you have to be alive, first!" 

Here's the first trailer from AUTOMATA, an upcoming Sci Fi movie with a scary vision about an all too possible  future.


Can't wait to see this one! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Man vs. Robot Ping Pong Match: Incredible Demonstration of Robotics Technology

"Man against machine.

The unbelievably fast KUKA robot faces off against one of the best table tennis players of all time. Who has the best technique? Who will win the first ever table tennis duel of human versus robot?
Watch this thrilling commercial of table tennis and robotics performed at the highest level. The KUKA KR AGILUS demonstrates its skills with the table tennis racket - a realistic vision of what robots can be capable of in the future.

Timo Boll, the German table tennis star, is the new brand ambassador for KUKA Robotics in China. The collaboration celebrates the inherent speed, precision, and flexibility of KUKA's industrial robots in tandem with Boll's electrifying and tactical prowess in competition. To celebrate the new KUKA Robotics factory in Shanghai, the thrilling video was a highlight of the Grand Opening on March 11th, 2014. The 20,000 sq. meter space will produce the KR QUANTEC series robot as well as the KRC4 universal controller for the Asian market. As a market leader in China, KUKA aims to further develop automation in the country while providing a modern and employee-friendly working environment.

music production: Lost in Music; composer: Matthias Neuhauser; soundmix: Robert MIller c.o. m-sound:

See the video and text at its source:

Monday, August 11, 2014

In Kinshasa,Democratic Republic of the Congo - Robot Traffic Robot Cops Tackle Traffic Problems

Robot cops rule! Humanoids take over streets of Kinshasa to tackle traffic chaos

How do you solve the problem of choking road traffic in one of the world's bustling megacities? You bring in the robot cops.

In Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, two humanoid robots have been installed in high-traffic areas to regulate the flow of vehicles and help drivers and pedestrians traverse the roads safely.
The goal is to ease the traffic woes of commuters and cut the number of road accidents in the center of Kinshasa, a city of some 10 million people....

Read the full article at its source:

Friday, August 1, 2014

From ISTE Blog: Easy tools for using robotics in the classroom

(Here's a nice little piece that describes a few of the many ways that teachers and students use robotics to foster learning. Of the resources and approaches mentioned,LEGO Robotics, by far, is the most popular... re-blogged from ISTE Connects Blog)

"Easy tools for using robotics in the classroom"

By Amanda Pressly 6/14/2014 Topics: Robotics
"Using robotics to inspire learning isn’t a new concept in the ed tech community, but finding easy-to-implement resources for getting started continues to be a struggle for many educators, parents and students.

Here’s a look at how members of the ISTE community are using robotics both in and out of the classroom:
Robots for all learners
RobotBASIC: This is a free tool for schools, teachers and students. Developed with help from 33-year education veteran John Blankenship, it’s among the most powerful educational programming languages available, with nearly 900 commands and functions.
LEGO Robotics: Perhaps one of the most widely used robotics programs used in classrooms, LEGO Robotics lets students at any learning level create and command robots. Middle school teacher Kelly Schnittker led a team of students who competed in a Lego Robotics competition , where they learned as much about problem solving and collaboration as they did engineering and programming.
EZ-Robot: EZ-Robot provides a platform that scales between beginner and advanced users, who learn logic, soldering, electronics and modular design, all while modifying a toy shell into a personal robot. Business developer Dennis Kambeitz uses EZ-Robot at home with his sixth grade son. Within the first hour of use, his son had activated the built-in camera, turned on the robot’s facial and color tracking abilities, and had created two custom movement sequences that included playing back his recorded voice through the robot's speaker.
Raspberry Pi : The idea behind the tiny and affordable computer for kids came in 2006 when the developers noticed a year-on-year decline in the numbers and skills levels of students applying learning through computer science. Educator Thomas Dubick inspires STEM learning among his female middle school students using Raspberry Pi. Watch their TED Talk to see the amazing work they’ve been doing.

Specialized tools and programs  
For early education: Bee-Bot is an exciting new robot designed for young children. ICT coordinator Linda Bradfield has recently begun using Bee-Bots in her K-2 classrooms and has found them to be a wonderful tool for teaching perseverance, mathematical concepts, collaborative skills and much more.
For college-bound students: Using unmanned aircraft, high school seniors in Alaska participate in activities such as simulated search-and-rescue operations, sea ice charting and data collection for a NASA aviation safety project . Program director John Monahan says benefits of the project include “giving students a bird’s-eye view of their communities and … exciting them about college and about STEM careers.”
For virtual education: Using robots to enhance virtual learning is something we once only dreamed about. But educators in Kodiak, Alaska , will soon be able to roll into their distance classrooms on two wheels! ISTE member Bob Whicker, director of the Consortium for Digital Learning at the Association of Alaska School Boards, is on the forefront of making this futuristic dream a reality throughout rural Alaska.

How are you using robotics in your school or classroom?"


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kids Teach Kids About Robotics!

Here's a nice article found at that illustrates the appeal robotics has for young people
Hannah Tipperman helps Abhinav and Anirudh Gianesan with their robot in a program created with her twin, Rachael.
Hannah Tipperman helps Abhinav and Anirudh Gianesan with their robot in a program created with her twin, Rachael. (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)
"Matt Greenwood seemed to hold his breath as he stared at his robot rolling through a maze on the floor Tuesday night. The robot crossed the finish line, and the 9-year-old boy's face lit up. "It did it!" he said.

"You want to keep programming?" his father, Dan, asked.

"Yeah!" Matt said, grabbing the robot and rushing to a laptop that Hannah Tipperman had set up to control it.

"They think they're playing with toys, but they're learning some pretty advanced concepts," said Tipperman.

For two years, Tipperman and her twin sister, Rachael, have run a nonprofit, Robot Springboard, to teach robotics to kids.
They've taught children in Alaska. They've worked with the Intel Corp. to bring their camp to San Jose, Costa Rica. And they won about $7,000 in grants to run a weeklong camp for middle-school girls at Drexel University.

The Tippermans are just 17.

"This is so far beyond what I would expect from somebody their age," said Jeffrey Popyack, a computer-science associate professor at Drexel. "They want to teach the whole world, I'm pretty sure."

The sisters, seniors at the all-girl Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, hope to do what they can to show kids, especially girls, what's possible. Less than 25 percent of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs at middle and high schools and colleges were female in 2010, according to a 2012 federal report.

Teachers, foundations, and countries worldwide are looking for ways to increase the number of girls in these fields. The Girl Rising movement, which advocates for girls' education worldwide, has inspired the sisters.

The Tippermans focus on helping to start robotics programs using five robot kits on loan from Drexel. They have applied for grants to buy more.

To pay for their travel expenses, they babysit, do odd jobs, and sell old clothes. Friends, family members, and students have donated money.

Parents of kids they teach sometimes assume their father is the instructor. Richard Tipperman, an eye doctor, said his daughters know much more about robotics than what he's picked up. He's their assistant in class, but he's mainly the chauffeur and heavy lifter, the girls said, laughing.

The sisters are helping a high school senior in Colorado start her own robotics education program and hope to get more high school students throughout the country involved. They see their youth as an asset that makes them less intimidating to kids.

"This isn't someone who has a Ph.D.," Rachael said. "This is someone that's trying to get through precalc."

The girls stumbled into robotics one afternoon in the seventh grade at Baldwin. Hannah spotted a flier for a robotics program.

"I could have gone the rest of my life not realizing I really like programming," Hannah said.
Last year, they contacted Francisco Burgos, the head of the Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica, to pitch their robotics curriculum. The girls ran a weeklong camp in June at the school, which stands in the middle of a fog forest and teaches 120 children.

Burgos had been looking for opportunities in technology for his students. He said the sisters were an inspiration to the 25 camp participants, especially the seven girls.

"You could see that something was happening in that classroom," Burgos said. "Hannah and Rachael planted a seed in my kids."

Burgos said he plans to discuss how his school can develop a robotics extracurricular class or its own robotics camp.

While they were in Costa Rica, the girls also partnered with Intel to teach 60 middle schoolers in San Jose.

In June 2013, the girls were in Homer, Alaska, teaching at their first camp. They said they chose to start there to prove to themselves and everyone else that their nonprofit could succeed...."

Read the full article at its source:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Life lessons learned from robots"

(Here's a nice little piece that describes well the convergence of 21st Century Skills Learning and Character Learning that I feel is typical of what students get from their experiences with robotics teams... re-blogged from ISTE Connects Blog)

"Life lessons learned from robots"

By Kelly Schnittker 6/7/2014 Topics: STEM, Robotics
This is a story about kids pushing through failure to achieve phenomenal success. And also robots.
In the rural town of Nuiqsut, Alaska — accessible year-round via air travel — seven middle school students took on the ultimate engineering challenge: Design, build and program a robot capable of executing a series of specific tasks.

As members of the FIRST Lego League, the students would then put their problem solving skills to the test in the worldwide 2013 Nature's Fury Lego Robotics challenge. It was the first time either students or teacher had ever worked with robotics.

"The main goal of Lego Robotics is to build collaboration among students through problem solving," said Kelly Schnittker, a middle school teacher at Nuiqsut Trapper School. "The students are given a set of instructions on the computer to build the parts of the Lego board — this is where engineering comes in. Students follow schematics and pick out the parts needed to build a variety of items. This takes about a week.

"The science inquiry comes in when students are given a list of tasks (22-30) that need to be completed on the game board. As a team, students design a robot to perform the tasks and then program the robot using the Lego Robotics software."

Here's what they learned on their journey:
1. Anything worth building is worth building more than once.
"There is a great deal of trial and error during this process, and students can become very frustrated," Schnittker said. "The robot goes through multiple design changes and reprogramming, which really helps students learn how to communicate and support their suggestions."
2. Sometimes help comes from unexpected places.
"What was wonderful was when we went to the practice session before the competition, another experienced team came by and showed us how to measure the diameter of the wheel in centimeters and divide by 100 to find out how many degrees our wheel moves in," she said.
"Then we measured in centimeters where we wanted it to go and then multiplied that by the number we got for our wheel. We became very accurate in programming our robot."
3. Things are never as bad as they seem.
"Throughout the project, the students wanted to quit and give up. Attitudes became negative but they stuck it out," Schnittker said.

"The team was feeling even more discouraged after arriving at the competition and seeing how well the other teams were doing.
"When it came time to run our robot on the board, the team felt like we were not prepared and would not score any points. Boy, were they surprised when we scored just over 40 points. The smiles came out, and cheering.
"They ran back to the practice room to work on squeezing in a few more programs for the next round. We scored more points on the second round and the kids were elated. I was so proud."
Although the students didn't win in any particular category, the judges gave them a "Rising Star" award for performing well as a first-time team.
"When our name was called I had to tell them repeatedly to go up because they could not believe it," Schnittker said. "

The most valuable lesson my students learned was how to work through frustration and discouragement and celebrate each success along the way. Now they can't wait to start it again next year."