A Massachusetts STEM Week Celebration – All Things Robotic October 19-22
Our annual Robot Block Party has been put on hold this year. We’ve enjoyed three years of showcasing autonomous vehicles, drones, robot arms, FIRST teams – and much more from Massachusetts robotics companies and universities. While we missed hosting our annual Robot Block Party, instead, we held a week of daily webinars learning about robotic activities and kits, developed here in Massachusetts!
Our goal was to reach students, educators, and families, and help them learn about different aspect of robotics, from coding to electronics. We aimed to provide ideas for educators on how to incorporate robotics into their curriculum and to provide families and students information on tools and resources available.
We hope you enjoy these webinar recordings:
Meet Root – iRobot Education’s Coding Robot
Root is a powerful learning tool backed with an extensive library of lessons and activities designed to engage students of all ages: from pre-readers to flourishing programmers. Paired with the easy-to-use iRobot Coding App supported across all platforms and a virtual simulator to support remote learning.
In this introductory session, covers how to get started right away, how iRobot Coding can integrate seamlessly into a blended classroom, and how to introduce coding to students of all ages. A Bonus: You can also follow along at home and code using the simulation mode!
Create with littleBits – Electronic Building Blocks
Spark your students’ imagination and inspire their creativity with LittleBits. LittleBits makes it easy to demonstrate how technology in the real world actually works, with simple input and block components. You don’t have to have a background in STEM or coding.
At MassRobotics we use LittleBits to teach the next generation of engineers how to make robots. Students begin by creating real-time interactions between sensors and actuators before learning how to add program logic. Soon they can turn their ideas into reality with these electronic building blocks.
Soft Robotics Toolkit – Prototype, Innovate, Design
SoftRobotics.IO is a community-centered development platform and ecosystem of tools and resources for soft robotics prototyping, innovation, and design. The Toolkit was developed as part of educational research being undertaken in the Harvard Biodesign Lab with the aim to advance the field of soft robotics by allowing designers and researchers to build upon each other’s work.
Learn about the Soft Robotics Toolkit and the collection of shared resources to support the design, fabrication, modeling, characterization, and control of soft robotic devices. The Toolkit includes an open source fluidic control board, detailed design documentation describing a wide range of soft robotic components (including actuators and sensors), and related files that can be downloaded and used in the design, manufacture, and operation of soft robots. In combination with low material costs and increasingly accessible rapid prototyping technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC mills, the Toolkit enables soft robotic components to be produced easily and affordably.
BrainCo STEM Kit – Prosthetics Technology
BrainCo’s Dexus prosthetic has empowered amputees around the world with cutting edge technology. Based on this tech and its social mission, BrainCo has modified this into a classroom solution that introduces students to the intersection of engineering, artificial intelligence, programming and more with seeking out and solving real world challenges. The BrainCo STEM Hand Base Set includes ready to build hardware, motors, controllers, sensors, IR Remote, cables and more with full curriculum access and a block-based programming platform.
Learn about this award winning Dexus prosthetic and the STEM kit that brings this technology and mission to students around the world.
Robot Stories Interviews with Massachusetts Robotic Icons:
How to become a roboticist
Laurie Leshin, President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Laurie has sent robots to Mars, overseen NASA’s largest science center, and even has a piece of the solar system named after her. Cool. She now oversees WPI, offering the first undergraduate program in robotics. Learn how robotics is being taught and the many career paths you can pursue with a robotics degree.
Laurie Leshin was interviewed by Glaydson Pires, a junior at the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury.
How to build and run a successful robotics company
Colin Angle, CEO and cofounder of iRobot: iRobot has hit the home run of robotics with its robotic vacuum, but it didn’t start out building robots for the home. Learn the story of iRobot’s many different robot ideas before they developed the Roomba, and what Colin sees for humans and robots in the future.
Colin Angle was interviewed by Jeralmi Canela, a junior at the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury.
How to turn your robotics idea into a start-up
Helen Greiner, an innovator and robotics expert for the U.S. Army who helped start a number of robotics companies: Helen has done more to bring robots into the mainstream of our lives than perhaps any other entrepreneur. She dates her love of robots back to a childhood infatuation with R2-D2. Learn what inspired her to get into robotics, the experiences she has had and what advice she has for those getting into the field.
Helen Greiner was interviewed by Elizabeth Garcia, a rising senior at the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Roxbury.
How to further advance robotics technology
Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics: Marc has developed advanced robots that can gallop like a cheetah, negotiate 10 inches of snow, walk upright on two legs and even open doors and deliver packages. You’ve seen the videos. Now learn how Marc and his team came up with a unique approach to overcoming hurdles and what shapes robots will take in the future.
Marc Raibert was interviewed by Shayan Jeanty, a rising senior at Canton High School in Canton MA.