Robots as Tools, Toys and Teachers

By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

GettyImages_143911346You too, can make your own robot, using Artoo, a micro-framework for robotics using the programming language Ruby. Mike Ford, a software engineer at Trion Worlds, spoke Monday night to a group of around 30 people at Austin RB meetup at Capital Factory about the Artoo technology and its uses in education.
Ford programmed a Sphero, robotic ball, to roll around in random directions using Artoo. At first it was just to mess with his cat, he said. But after spending time with his toddler niece, he realized that robotic technology could be used as a novel approach to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, known as STEM, concepts to kids of any age.
You can, for example, program the ball to change colors on command. Kids could not only learn the words for colors in English, but you could program the ball to change colors when the commands were given in another language “rojo” or “rouge.”
It could be used to teach about the light spectrum. It can be programmed to outline specific geometric shapes, a fun way to teach kids geometry. Ultimately, kids can be taught programming languages so they can program their robots to do whatever they desire.
Artoo has a domain specific language that interfaces with all devices in the same way and supports multiple hardware types, he said, It’s also extendable to support new hardware.
It works with Arduino, AR Drone, Roomba vacuum cleaner to name a few, programmers can define their own “work” for the Artoo enabled robot to do.
“Of course,” Ford said, “When when you show this off to a one year old, all she wants to do is chase the ball. “

What is Sphero? from Sphero on Vimeo.

Comments

  1. I wrote an app inspired in part by this article:

    https://medium.com/life-hacks/5a1a8fcc3a56

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