August 1, 2013 6:04 PM
We just love stories like this.
Two sisters, 11 and 13, have built a Mars rover in a workshop in their family’s garage.
Camille and Genevieve Beatty have also been invited to the New York Hall of Science to show off their rover as part of a special exhibit on astronomy. The rover will roam around a mini-Martian landscape and analyze rocks with hidden heat lamps embedded inside.
Here’s a gallery and demo clip:
The girls also worked with their dad to build software to control the rover.
Its innards contain more than 700 components, including electrical and mechanical apparati.
The 13-year-old Camille revealed in a recent interview how the project got its start:
When I was 11, I started taking apart calculators, clocks, and TV remote controls to see what was inside. My dad asked me if I wanted to build something myself. We started out creating simple circuits on a breadboard to light up LEDs. Then my dad asked, “What do you want to build next?” and I said, “A robot!” We started out really basic at first and learned as much as we could. I’m 13 now and I’m in 7th grade. We’ve built all sorts of rolling, crawling, flying, beeping, blinking robots.
Check out the Beatty family blog for a step-by-step look at how the project took shape.
Instructable user mszymczak has let us share his project with you for building a mechanical hand with plastic drinking straws. This project is a great primer for kids to spark their interest in building more complicated gadgets.
for the full article goto: http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/gadgets/make-mechanical-hand-plastic-drinking-straws/
Just found this link http://kipr.org/gcer about a Global Conference on Educational Robotics and thought I would share it.
One Robot Per Child? Former Googler, Apple Engineer Tackle Educational Bots.
from: All Things D
by: Lauren Goode
May 14, 2013
There are apps that teach kids the basics of programming.
And then there are robots that get the job done.
That’s the vision of a group of four tech entrepreneurs who late last year formed a company called Play-i with the purpose of creating educational robots for kids.
The Bay Area-based company is still very much in the early stages of building out its bots and determining their form and functionality.
Vikas Gupta, Play-i’s founder and CEO, said the robots will be targeted at children aged 5 to 8, and will most likely work in conjunction with tablets. Using a tablet or other mobile device running compatible software, the child will be able to program his or her robot to perform certain actions.
Gupta said the company is aiming to keep the price point low — very low. Unlike the personal robots we’ve seen to date, Play-i wants to keep its bots at under $100, making it a direct-to-consumer play.
But Play-i is light on other details. It’s unclear how large or powerful the robots will be, whether they’ll have a humanoid shape or take on more of a mechanical form, and ultimately, which software they’ll run on or work with. And the robots won’t necessarily speak. (Although, one thing is certain: These aren’t the super-poweful robots that are going to do your chores for you.)
So, why robots, when there are plenty of lightweight and tablet-friendly apps now that teach kids how to program? The Play-i team believes that learning should be tangible and fun, and that bossing hardware robots around is more interesting than, say, instructing an animated bot to draw a line.
“We believe tangible interaction is what grabs children, something that’s much more engaging for them beyond just having a software screen in front of them,” Gupta said.
And what was cost-prohibitive a few years ago in robotics isn’t as pricey any more, Gupta said, with the increasing accessibility of sensors in the market and the advancements in processors.
Play-i is the brainchild of Gupta, who in his last role was the head of consumer payments at Google; Mikal Greaves, formerly of Frog Design; Saurabh Gupta, who led the iPod software team at Apple from 2006 to 2012; and Imran Kahn, previously the head of marketing at Eloan and Symantec.
The company just secured $1 million in seed funding from Google Ventures, Madrona Venture Group and individual private investors. Later this summer, Play-i will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise more money for production.
(The photo above was taken at a museum in Moscow and is not indicative of Play-i’s product plans. Photo courtesy of Liza Azarova/Flickr Creative Commons.)
Looking for an easier language to use with your Arduino? Check out Scratch for Arduino.
Many people of heard of Scratch. It is an easy to use programming language for beginners. A lot of schools use this to teach the basics of programming to kids, it is graphical in nature (form programs by drag and drop blocks).
Now add the arduino and it would make for a great language for people just starting out in robotics.
Here is a link to a mobile robot simulation program. it has a 30 day free trial then it costs. See http://www.cyberbotics.com/
From: IEEE Spectrum
POSTED BY: Erico Guizzo and Stephen Cass / Mon, January 07, 2013
One of the best robotics kits is now even better. Lego is unveiling its new Mindstorms EV3 kit today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas. Check out the new features.
As in the previous set, the Mindstorms NXT, the EV3 comes with hundreds of Lego bricks, plus four motors and five sensors, including a new infrared unit that can be used as robotic eyes or to allow a robot to follow a remote control.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Mindstorms kit, and Lego really wanted to make the product more exciting to “an audience of children who have grown up with technology.” So the company set out to redesign the kit by making it, among other things, “more hackable,” to use Lego’s own words.
One of the biggest upgrades is the EV3 programmable brick, which now runs Linux and has a USB port and a micro SD card slot that builders can use add more capabilities to their robots. But the biggest innovation is that Lego made it easier for the EV3 brick to communicate via Bluetooth with Android and iOS apps. That means you can use a smartphone or tablet to control a Mindstorms robot or give it new behaviors.
To program your robotic creations, you can enter commands directly into the EV3 brick via its LCD or you can use the easy-to-use PC software provided. The set also includes a program that Lego created with Autodesk that shows step-by-step 3D instructions for various projects.
The EV3 set will include instructions for 17 different robots, including walking humanoids and insect-like creatures. It will sell for $350 and will be available in the second half of this year.