SmartGurlz launches the World’s First Mini-Robot for Girls

Dolls, Robots and Dreams: the aim is to engage more girls in Science & Tech by connecting their tablets and smartphones to their dolls via a robot

January 31st, 2017, Spielwarenmesse, Nuremberg, Germany

While millions of robots and mini-drones have been sold this year, few have ended up in the hands of women or even girls reflecting a deepening gender gap in the world of technology.

Many girls’ toys lag behind in the development of spatial skills, hands-on problem solving skills, and confidence with technology.

These are exactly the skills that SmartGurlz aims to develop.

SmartGurlz has a unique offering of stylish scooter robots, dolls and books with digital elements such as an e-learning platform that teaches basic coding. The idea is to encourage girls from being consumers of technology into creators and code writers.

‘We at SmartGurlz believe that kids learn by playing and childhood is a time for setting the foundation for further educational pursuits,’ said CEO and Co-Founder, Sharmi Albrechtsen, ‘we wanted to modernize doll playing to reflect changing times. The end result are really amazing mini-drones shaped like fashionable Italian scooters and Segway-like vehicles that are self-balancing, driven by App and can be coded using our own coding platform SugarCoded TM.’

The self-balancing aspect is unique since the robot can maneuver in small rooms, on carpet, inside and outside. SmartGurlz’s CTO, Thomas Kølbæk Jespersen has been working with Aalborg University and DTU’s robotics departments to finalise this unique feature.

Launched this 2016 Christmas in Denmark, Switzerland and UK, SmartGurlz charms geeks and toy masters but most importantly impresses girls and their parents with the amount of creative fun coding can give.

Designed by tech toy start-up company, SmartGurlz Aps, girls playing with SmartGurlz gain three major learnings:

1. SPATIAL REASONING. Girls learn how to direct/orient their robots in new environments and interpret maps.

2. COMPUTER PROGRAMMING. Girls learn to program their robots using our specially made kids coding software App called Sugar CodedTM*.

3. STORYTELLING & PROBLEM SOLVING.Girls learn to story tell and solve missions via coding.
*SugarCoded was inspired by open-sourced Scratch, the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab and uses elements from Blockly, created by Google.

 

SMARTGURLZ NEW YORK STORY: CHARACTERS & BOOKS

SmartGurlz first product line is SmartGurlz New York ™ which focuses on the everyday adventures of 4 young talented women studying at the fictional New York Institute of Technology – N.I.T.

A collaboration with the Kurhn Doll Company allows us to offer high quality fashion/action dolls that represent the ideals of SmartGurlz New York TM.

SmartGurlz New York dolls are naturalistic and smartly dressed with simple elegance that you may find in a real-life, young woman touring around a college campus in the ‘Big Apple’, New York City. The multi-cultural dolls represent various education backgrounds including Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and our books highlight each girl’s corresponding story line.

SmartGurlz New York products are available Christmas 2016.

Siggy: Robot, Doll and Apps • Ages 6+  

Digital Products:

SugarCoded App  Free
a strategic game-like interface that teaches coding and allows for self-build coding projects available at both App Store and Google Play

ABOUT SMARTGURLZ, A/S.
SmartGurlz is a fun, tech toy to engage girls in design, robotics and computer programming using their mobile phones and tablets. It’s created for girls who want to take playing with fashion dolls to the next level, and the name of our little company. (We’re brand new!)

uArm Swift: Multi-use Desktop Robotic Arm for Everyone

In 2014 UFACTORY built the first open source desktop robotic arm, ushering in a new era of affordable desktop robotic arms for consumers. uArm is an Arduino-powered desktop 4-axis parallel-mechanism robot, easy to use, has multiple accessories and open sourced. In Jan 2014, uArm went on Kickstarter and became famous overnight, leading to an exclusive interview with WIRED. A standout quote from the piece: Thirty years ago Bill Gates promised to put a computer on every desk in America, an ambitious sentiment echoed by Wang and company … The most innovative aspect of the entire project is probably the concept of putting a robot arm on your desk”.

As the robot arm is moving to various industries, its users have expanded from relatively minority geeks to robot lovers. The demand for better and easier user experience is increasing.

January 23, 2017, UFACTORY returns again, announcing two robotic arms in uArm Swift Series. Swift is intended to highlight the elegant texture of the fuselage, lightweight and portable form and flexible movement, just like a swift. This series has uArm Swift and uArm Swift Pro.

  • Hardware Upgrades

 

Performance improvements

1.Precision improvement

uArm Swift enhanced the control algorithm and increased the accuracy by 50%, from 1cm to 5mm.

uArm Swift Pro adapted self-designed reducer. Working with a high-precision stepping motor, uArm Swift Pro minimizes gear gap, improves joint accuracy, and is more compact. The built-in 12-bit magnetic encoder and motor forms instant position feedback, achieving closed-loop control, and improves the accuracy to unprecedented 0.2mm, perfectly performs 3D printing and laser engraving.

  1. Working scope improvement:

uArm Swift Series improves mechanical arm structure and increases working range by 20%, covering the working area of an entire A4 paper.

  1. CPU upgrade

uArm Swift Series upgrades the main board. We choose Arduino MEGA 2560, which is nearly 10 times larger in the storage space compared to the previous UNO edition.

  1. Accessories enhancements

uArm Swift Series has 4-axis, whether equipped with fixtures or suction head, the end of uArm can freely steer, and the replacement of accessories requires less than 30 seconds.

uArm Swift/uArm Swift Pro have a built-in socket for selected Seeed Grove modules.

uArm Swift Series can be equipped with a smart car, the uCar. uCar is a mobile open-source car, with infrared avoidance, trajectory planning functions.

uArm Swift Series adapts CNC integral forming process, and the whole body is matte black. uArm Swift looks has a more minimalistic design. The aluminum body is light and stable, enhancing the overall rigidity.

Compared with the previous version, uArm Swift series redesigned the base, inserted the mainboard and added power button, function switching button, play button and menu button. The new indicator light shows the current operation mode and status of uArm Swift.

 

 

  • Software upgrade

uArm Swift Series support PC + mobile control.

Software upgrade -uArm Studio

uArm Studio is a brand new cross-platform robotic arm control software. It has integrated offline learning, graphical programming and instant control functions, manipulate the robotic arm to finish complex tasks.

  1. Teach & Play Offline Learning Mode

Teach uArm Swift by your own hand to learn move, gripping, dropping, and save them with just a click to replay on Blockly mode. uArm Swift can also sync offline learning data once connected.

  1. Blockly-based graphical programming

Blockly is a web-based visual programming tool, allowing users to program without needing to code The software is designed to be so simple that even even preschool children could create a program easily. Detailed tutorial will be provided for your quick guide and interesting secondary development.

  1. Instant Control

uArm Studio has combined control of keyboard and mouse. Developers may use keyboard hotkeys and mouse simultaneously to control move, gripping, and dropping of the robotic arm, and it supports customize hot keys.

After connect with LeapMotion, users of uArm Swift may use their own hand to control gesture such as move, gripping and dropping etc.

 

Software upgrade –

APP-uArm Play

Robotic Arm has built-in Bluetooth module, simply connect your smartphone with uArm Play to remote control your uArm Swift or uArm Swift Pro.

Your smartphone can also work as an external actuator, download and run a program from Blockly.

 

UCS

UCS, also known as uArm Creator Studio, which is a open sourced developer tool developed by UFACTORY. UCS has integrated graphical programming and coding, to achieve features such as rapid development, visualize and easy sharing.

 

  1. Rapid Development

With numerous commands of UCS, developers don’t need to construct programming environment.

For programming developers, UCS is a rapid development tool, developers doesn’t need to construct programming environment, any interface of the whole system supports Python script, all variables can be sharing between visual programming and coding which means you don’t need to copy setting each time.

 

  1. Built-in Robotic Vision

UCS has integrated complex robotic vision function, just need to connect with the camera, so the uArm can “see” and adapt to different environment.

The camera can instantly locate, memorize, recognize and track 3D space position of objects.

3.Easy Sharing

Every creator will be able to save their own work as .task file format through the UCS programming, and it supports one click sharing to the official website of UFACTORY or Reddit Community, copying scenario in just one click on other robotic arms.

The uArm Swift Pro is a “Open Sourced” design concept with more freedom, simplicity, and functions. This is a whole new open platform came from developers, back to developers, and still that Open Source Robotic Arm. We just can’t wait to become  your comprehensive desktop assistant!

LEGO® BOOST Building and Coding Set Unveiled at CES Empowers Children to Bring Their LEGO Creations to Life

– Building on the company’s history of merging digital programming and physical building, LEGO BOOST will inspire a younger generation to build and code their way to limitless play –

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LAS VEGAS, Jan. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW – Today the LEGO Group announced LEGO® BOOST, a supercharged building and coding set that lets children bring their LEGO creations to life by adding movement, sound and personality. Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, LEGO BOOST will be previewed to members of the global media at Digital Experience! on January 4 and will be demonstrated to CES attendees as part of the [email protected] Kids & Technology Marketplace from January 5-8, 2017 at the Sands Expo. With a suggested retail price of $159.99 (USD), LEGO BOOST will be available in the second half of 2017.

Build the Toy You Want
LEGO BOOST combines the endless play opportunities of a traditional LEGO set with an endless variety of movement and sound capabilities made possible through an easy-to-use, app-based coding environment. LEGO BOOST was developed for children ages 7 and older by an international team of LEGO designers. Using familiar LEGO elements and simple coding language, LEGO BOOST delivers an intuitive approach and opportunities for quick success.

Powered by a Move Hub, a LEGO stud-covered brick with built-in tilt sensor upon which children can add LEGO elements, motors and a sensor that combines color and distance detection, LEGO BOOST brings movement to any LEGO creation. The set includes building instructions for five diverse models; Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder, each designed to give children the basic building and coding skills needed to express their creativity by personalizing whatever they build.

„We know that children dream of bringing their LEGO creations to life, and our chief ambition for LEGO BOOST is to fulfill that wish. Once children build a LEGO creation, we give them simple coding tools to ‚boost‘ their models by adding personality,“ said Simon Kent, design lead for LEGO Group. „We want children to first and foremost have a fun and limitless play experience, adding the coding opportunity is the means to get there.“

Coding Brings Your Toy to Life
LEGO BOOST introduces children to coding through a free downloadable app that contains the guidance, building instructions and simple coding commands to bring to life five LEGO creations, one at a time. Much like building with LEGO bricks, children build behaviors and actions by linking digital coding blocks in an easy-to-understand horizontal layout. To further personify the experience, LEGO BOOST lets children add voice recordings to their creations, adding personality without requiring spelling and typing. The app also includes more than 60 activities designed to inspire additional building, coding and play.

Creative Canvas Lets You Boost Any LEGO Creation
To further inspire creative building and coding, the LEGO BOOST app includes a „creative canvas“ that includes basic building instructions for three simple base models that children can use to customize their own LEGO creations. The three bases available at launch include: a walking base for making animals like a dragon or a pony, a driving base for building vehicles like a dune buggy or rover, and an entrance base so that children can make their own castle, fort, or even a futuristic space station. Once children are comfortable with building and coding the various LEGO BOOST models, they can use the kit to „boost“ any LEGO creation – from LEGO CITY and LEGO  Friends to LEGO NINJAGO and The LEGO BATMAN Movie.

LEGO® BOOST Includes:

Hardware

  • 3 BOOST Bricks:
    • Move Hub with built-in tilt sensor
    • Combination color & distance sensor
    • Interactive motor
  • 843 LEGO elements
  • Playmat, calibrated to the app, designed to facilitate mini challenges to practice simple coding trials

LEGO BOOST App

  • Free, downloadable app is iOS and Android tablet compatible

LEGO BOOST uses 6 AAA batteries. Alkaline batteries are recommended, but rechargeable batteries can be used, though may result in weaker power output.

Quick Overview

  • Includes over 840 LEGO® pieces, plus a LEGO Move Hub, Interactive Motor and a Color & Distance Sensor.
  • Move Hub features Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity, two encoded motors, activation button, internal tilt sensor and a light.
  • Interactive Motor is an encoded motor.
  • Color & Distance Sensor detects distance, motion and color, and can also function as a light.
  • Check out the cool white, orange and blue color scheme.
  • Rotate Vernie’s head to activate its shoulder-mounted spring-loaded shooter.
  • Build the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4) and try out the different tool and customization attachments to prepare the vehicle for an array of exciting activities.
  • Learn how to play a song and rock out with the Guitar4000.
  • Look after your own pet with Frankie the Cat. Be sure to feed it the right food—or it might get upset!
  • Construct, code and operate the AutoBuilder to produce real miniature LEGO® models.
  • Build and code robots and models, and complete exciting activities with the playmat and intuitive LEGO® BOOST app, available for iOS and Android tablet devices.
  • Easy-to-use intuitive software with icon-based drag-and-drop coding interface.
  • Building instructions for all 5 models are included with the free LEGO® BOOST app.
  • This product requires batteries (not included). Please refer to the product packaging for type and quantity.
  • Vernie the robot stands over 10” (27cm) tall.
  • M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4) measures over 4” (12cm) high, 9” (23cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide.
  • Guitar4000 measures over 1” (5cm) high, 16” (42cm) long and 5” (15cm) wide.
  • Frankie the Cat stands over 6” (17cm) tall.
  • The AutoBuilder measures over 10” (27cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 6” (16cm) wide.

LEGO BOOST will be available at most stores and online shopping sites where toys are sold, through select consumer electronics retailers, and at LEGO Stores and shop.LEGO.com in the second half of 2017 and will have a suggested retail price of $159.99 USD, €159.99 (EUR) and $199.99 (CAD). For more information, visit www.LEGO.com/BOOST.

About the LEGO Group
The LEGO Group is a privately held, family-owned company with headquarters in Billund, Denmark, and main offices in Enfield, USA, London, UK., Shanghai, China, and Singapore. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, and based on the iconic LEGO® brick, it is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of play materials. Guided by the company spirit: „Only the best is good enough“, the company is committed to the development of children and aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through creative play and learning. LEGO products are sold worldwide and can be virtually explored at www.LEGO.com.

Harvard University Based Startup Launches New Robot, Root, That Teaches Anyone To Code

All ages and skill levels can learn coding in an intuitive, interactive way.

 CAMBRIDGE, Mass. October 26, 2016 – Scansorial, a startup emerging from Harvard University, is on a mission to bridge the coding gap with the launch of their newest invention, Root: a fun, easy-to-use robot which teaches coding to anyone ages four to 99. Root has over 50 sensors and actuators with which it can draw, erase, play music, explore its world, and even defy gravity by using magnetism to drive on wall mounted whiteboards — making coding activities applicable to a range of topics, social, and way more cool.

With its interactive nature and easy setup, Root is the perfect tool for learning from authentic coding experiences at home, with teachers in classrooms, and has a social platform to share programs around the world. Root appeals to children as young as four and grows with them as a familiar and consistent platform — offering years of learning opportunities rather than days. As their coding skills improve, they’ll advance from programming with a blocks-based graphical interface (a child can use it even before they know how to read) to programming with fully text-based languages like Swift, JavaScript, and Python.

Another thing that makes Root special is the interplay with iPad. Not only is it programmed from an iPad, with Root’s app the iPad sensors can be used to interact with Root in real-time (for instance, the iPad can be programmed to act as a steering wheel.) Programs can be modified even while they’re running which facilitates the real-time debugging of code as children flexibly pause, step through, or add instructions at any point. Root also promotes agent-based thinking by showing exactly what the robot sees on the iPad.

“We have a big problem in our country, nine out of 10 parents want their kids to learn computer science but only one out of 10 elementary schools actually teach it. This leaves 58 million kids stuck in the middle not knowing how to get a computer science education,” Zee Dubrovsky, CEO of Scansorial.

“We are thrilled to support Root as it heads out to change the world of education. iRobot is committed to STEM learning and excited to see one of our alumni carry this passion forward in a startup aimed at bringing robotics and programming into homes and classrooms.“ Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot.

About Scansorial, PBC

Founded in 2016, Scansorial is a Public Benefit Corporation on a mission to make coding accessible for learners of any age. Scansorial makes robots, apps, and curricula that allow people to instantly set up, create, and share interactive coding lessons. Robots are the best way to engage in the journey of learning how digital stuff really works. Scansorial is a privately-held company headquartered in Cambridge, MA.

Root Team

The Root team has over 50 years of collective experience in launching and building consumer products (iRobot, Sonos, Apple) and software/education services (Microsoft, Disney, PLTW, Harvard, MIT). This includes launching four coding robots (Create, Kilobot, AERobot, Multiplo), launching two graphical coding environments (MIT App Inventor, Minibloq), and launching three consumer robots (Roomba, Scooba, Looj).

It is now possible to pre-order Root exclusively through Kickstarter through November 30. A limited number are priced at $145 which is only a fraction of its retail value. With a pledge of only $10, the campaign will put that money aside for schools in need that can’t afford Root. For any backers with deeper pockets, a pledge of $10,000 will put 60 Roots in a school of their choice and the campaign will promote these backers as a School Hero. Follow #SchoolHero to see who out there will step up to the plate and join this cause.

Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/2exTJN8

Robo Wunderkind raises $500,000 and announces a new mobile application

Vienna, Austria, Sept. 20, 2016 — The Vienna-based hardware startup Robo Wunderkind, which develops modular programmable robots for young children, announced today a $500,000 funding round with participation from Arkley VC as lead investor, business angel Juergen Habichler, and the Austrian Federal Promotional Bank (AWS). The funding will go into the widening of their retail reach and the expansion into new markets. The plan is to build a worldwide distribution system and to give young customers from everywhere a chance to learn coding and robotics in a fun and simple way.

The startup already raised $250,000 from backers from 58 countries on Kickstarter in October 2015 and by now collaborated with more than 50 schools around the globe to bring Robo Wunderkind to the classroom. Its vision is to revolutionize the way children interact with technologies through developing educational hardware and software products.

 

Piotr Wasowski, Managing Partner of Arkley VC:

“I expect Robo Wunderkind to transform how our kids interact with technology. Even very young children will be able to learn the basic principles of programming, which are vital for their future careers and for understanding the world around them.”

 

Juergen Habichler, Business Angel:

Robo Wunderkind is the future of education. I have been looking for a long time to find a visionary team, which combines robotics with education. I strongly believe that Robo Wunderkind has the potential to become the education platform for kids, students as well as adults.

 

Today, the startup is also announcing its new application to remote control electronic devices: the Robo Play App. Its simple programming interface will allow users to easily create personalized virtual dashboards to control the robots they will build with Robo Wunderkind modules, remotely via Bluetooth or Wifi. In the next step, the team is going to make the Robo Play App compatible with other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as cameras, lights, motion and light sensors.

 

Rustem Akishbekov, co-founder and CEO at Robo Wunderkind:

“In the beginning, we wanted to create an interface that will allow even a 5-year old to control our robotics kit. Eventually, we created a platform that will allow us to expand our target audience and reach older users. With our app, everyone will be able to control their IoT devices with the help of a very intuitive and customizable app. The way our robots prepare young kids for the digital world of the 21st century, our app will open the world of IoT devices to everyone.”

Yuri Levin, Chief Design Officer:

“With the help of our user-friendly and intuitive design, we are making interaction with IoT devices seamless and accessible for the wider audience.”

 

Robo Play App is free and will work on both Android and iOS devices. It will be compatible with all Robo Wunderkind kits, which are already available for pre-orders on their website with shipping planned for later this year.

 

About Robo Wunderkind

Robo Wunderkind was founded by Rustem Akishbekov, who brought Anna Iarotska and Yuri Levin on board in 2013. The company is based in Vienna, Austria, and maintains an office in Shenzhen, China. In the last three years, the founders have gathered a team of passionate engineers and designers dedicated to the vision of making coding and robotics accessible to everyone. Their first product is an educational robot that syncs with intuitive mobile applications to help children understand the basics of programming. Robo Wunderkind was part of the world’s first and largest hardware accelerator HAX in 2014 and Finalist of TechCrunch Disrupt SF Startup Battlefield in 2015.

Enhance Your Makerspace!

It’s no secret how exciting the trend of makerspaces are for schools. While this movement was started quite some time ago, it seems to have gained particularly great momentum in the past 5 years.

Built on the idea of ‘constructionism’, makerspaces are a very obviously translated idea, where a space is dedicated within a school or educational facility for students to create and ‘make’ things.  There is shared resources and networking that takes place and provides a different structure of learning for students. Ranging from woodworks to robotics, these spaces are extremely important in fostering creativity and problem solving in students.

Where Will Makerspaces Work Best?

Makerspaces also range from elementary schools to college campuses, so their versatility is extremely useful.

According to Educause.edu, on their article 7 Things you Should Know About Makerspaces,

“….certain materials and tools are emblematic of makerspaces, such as microcontrollers called arduinos and 3D printers, valuable for fast prototyping. As the notion of providing space for project design and construction has caught on in education, such places have acquired other accoutrements, from paints and easels and impromptu stage sets to cooktops and candy molds. Used by students, faculty, and staff, makerspaces have become arenas for informal, project-driven, self-directed learn- ing, providing workspace to tinker, try out solutions, and hear input from colleagues with similar interests. “

It’s places like these that encourage a different type of learning to take place, perhaps a more ‘open-range’ type of environment that differs from the structure of a classroom being led by a teacher.

Some supplies for a makerspace are less available than others, such as 3D printers and robots.

If you compare sharing a robot amongst a class of 20 students to them all sharing a computer to learn from; you can see how the essence of learning is diluted. The experience is completely different and likely not nearly as effective or beneficial to the students until it’s their “turn” to use the computer.

The same can be said for robotics. We know they are extremely useful for teaching many STEM concepts and early mechanical engineering, and LEGO robots are very popular for schools and competitions but start around $400. For most public schools, one robot may be more than is affordable so to effectively teach an entire class by sharing; the students are not receiving the best quality experience from their class.

Here is another example where the Virtual Robotics Toolkit can provide a solution to hundreds of schools and thousands of students, where each student is able to individually use the simulator. They can build and control their own robots using the exact same controller and concepts as the physical robots. In fact, if they’ve already learned how to use a LEGO EV3 MINDSTORMS or NXT robot, they will seamlessly navigate the VRT.

Pilots use flight simulators to learn to fly for the same reason students can learn robotics with one; costs and training purposes.

If students are given access to the VRT in addition to the makerspace of sharing a physical robot, their skills and overall experience will be greatly enhanced and at a fraction of the cost of a real robot.

It’s a win-win for teachers as well, since they’re able to help their class all get to the same level.

Where can this movement take students and educators?

The Educause article says, “One key demand of a makerspace is that it exist as a physical location where participants have room and opportunity for hands-on work, but as these environments evolve, we may see more virtual participation.”

This is such a great point, because of global networking the opportunities are truly endless. Again, here is a great window of opportunity for the VRT to be a part of your school’s makerspace.  The software already encourages users to interact and even compete with other robot enthusiasts across the globe via the internet.

This capability allows students to learn from eachother and share ideas and challenges that they would otherwise not have had the access to.

Old and new VEX IQ Chickens

Here are pictures and videos of the VEX IQ Chickens I built some time ago for VEX Worlds. You can see the progress from the first version to the latest version with colored parts.

These robot chickens can each be build out of one VEX IQ kit.
But if you add parts in other colors it looks more realistic.

It is moving using only one motor!
The program to make it move is really easy and a great start for robotic beginners.

2014-04-22 14.57.50 (Large)

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20160402_002040

 

IronBot Robotics Kit for Children Launches IndieGogo Campaign

XiaMen, China – May 22, 2016 – IronBot is a 3-in-1 buildable and programmable robotics kit for children age 8 and up. Kids will learn STEM and  robotics, when they happily create a “little robot friend” of their own. On Tuesday, May 17, it was launched on Indiegogo, with early bird perk starting from just $89.  (Indiegogo Link: https://igg.me/at/ironbot/x/12259168)


IronBot Includes three choices: a „Robot Arm,“ a „Biped Robot,“ or a „Humanoid Robot.“ As a step-by-step robotic learning kit, the robots are perfect for education and technical instruction, and are a fun playtime activity for children 8 years and up.

IronBot helps children to learn by following step-by-step easy instructions, easily explaining the components, which include, a servo-motor, manipulator assembly, Biped Robot and the Humanoid Robot. The IronBot kit will open the door to the world of robots to children of all ages.
According to the founders of IronBot, „Children can control their IronBot by Bluetooth®, and IronBot offers a coordinating, dedicated app. The robotic arm will pick up small objects or play a balloon game. The app can also race two biped robots. When a robot transforms to the next level humanoid form, kids can use a mobile phone to act as the brain of IronBot. Children will learn by audio and visual interaction using the mobile phone’s camera and microphone.“
The kit comes with a multimode progressive assembly, graphic programming and a personalization setting. Kids can name their robot, and program a personality, voice and story with a customized setting. The kit can be augmented by the children by crafting unique parts for their IronBots, creating unique characteristics on their own.


For more information visit www.ironbot.net.

Find Ironbot on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ironbotforkids/, Twitter: @IronbotforKids, and on YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCALVYMZ5RCrYsGO4EOxS11A

Kamibot Programmable Papercraft Robot Launches on Kickstarter

Daegu, Korea – February 16, 2016 – Kamibot, the first robot that makes learning to code truly fun for kids (and kidults), will launch on Kickstarter on Tuesday, February 16.

Kamibot is a cute, programmable edtech robot, about the size of a coffee mug. It is based around Arduino, so kids can easily program it by using a drag-and-drop programming language like Scratch. The programming skills kids learn with Kamibot are easily transferrable to real-world applications.

“Unless we make programming fun, kids are never going to stick with it,” said Alvin Chae, co-founder and CEO of 3.14, the company that makes Kamibot. “That’s why we put so much effort into the fun elements of Kamibot, creating colorful papercraft skins that let kids dress up Kamibot, and included the ability to control Kamibot with a smartphone or tablet.”

Papercraft Skins

Kami (紙) is the Japanese word for paper, and is at the root of the word origami (折り紙), literally folding paper. The Kamibot team have already created about half a dozen unique papercraft skins that kids can print out, color, and fold to customize Kamibot and give it character. These include The Count, Frankenstein’s monster, a warrior robot, a tank and a missile launcher tank. The company is also working on striking licensing deals for popular cartoon characters.

Hardware

While Kamibot is undeniably fun to play with, it also packs some serious hardware. It’s brain is an Arduino compatible board, based on the open-source standard widely used by the maker community around the world. It also includes front-facing ultrasonic sensors that help it recognize and avoid obstacles and navigate through mazes or around a room. Downward-facing IR sensors allow Kamibot recognize and race along a black line on the floor. DC motors power the wheels, and a servo motor allows the heads of the papercraft characters to rotate from side-to-side. Color changing LEDs brighten up Kamibot and make it even more colorful.

Programming Kamibot

Kids can program Kamibot to follow complex courses and do complex actions, using all of its motors and sensors. One example of how to program Kamibot is a treasure hunt. Kids can set up a table-sized treasure hunt map that includes obstacles like plastic alligators and a treasure chest. Then, using Scratch, kids can program Kamibot to wind its way through the course toward the treasure chest. Several programming project plans, including the treasure hunt, are included with Kamibot. Others will be released on the company’s website in the future. Kamibot can be programmed wirelessly via Bluetooth or while plugged in via micro-USB.

Launching on Kickstarter

Throughout 2015, Kamibot was tested in Korean classrooms and earned high marks both from students aged 10 to 17, and their teachers. Now Kamibot is ready to launch on Kickstarter on Tuesday, February 16 at 7:00 a.m. EST. Super earlybird prices start at $79 plus shipping. Pre-orders close after 30 days and Kamibot will ship to backers in June. For more information, visit Kickstarter and search for Kamibot.

Mit dem neuen LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 wird Sachunterricht in der Grundschule lebendig

Heute wird auf der Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in den USA eine weltweite Innovation vorgestellt:

LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0, ein kabelloses, roboterbasiertes Lernsystem, mit dem schon Grundschüler projektorientierte Problemlösung und Grundzüge des Programmierens erlernen.


Anfassen, ausprobieren, umsetzen – das neue Lernkonzept WeDo 2.0 ermöglicht eine immense Vielfalt bei der Gestaltung eines lebendigen, handlungs- und forschungsorientierten Sachunterrichts in der Grundschule. Unter Einsatz der vielseitigen LEGO Bauelemente, der Software und der Unterrichtsmaterialien arbeiten Lehrerinnen und Lehrer mit ihrer Klasse an wissenschaftlichen Projekten mit lebensechtem Anwendungsbezug und schaffen so ein solides Grundverständnis für alltägliche Phänomene. Schülerinnen und Schüler erlernen durch das Anfassen und Ausprobieren technische, physikalische und biologische Grundlagen sowie die elementare Logik des Programmierens. Sie werden animiert, Probleme zu erkennen und kreative Lösungsansätze zu entwickeln. Die Kompetenzbeschreibungen basieren auf dem aktuellen Perspektivrahmen Sachunterricht. Die Unterrichtsmaterialien von WeDo 2.0 behandeln zentrale Themen des Sachunterrichts und orientieren sich an den aktuellen Lehrplänen der Jahrgangsstufen 2 bis 4 und sind ebenfalls für LehrplanPLUS geeignet.

Im Rahmen der verschiedenen Projekte beschäftigen sich Schülerinnen und Schüler intensiv mit Problemen und Fragen der Wissenschaft, Konstruktion, Technologie und Programmierung und entwickeln dabei Freude am Experimentieren und Untersuchen. Lehrkräfte werden durch Fortbildungen, Unterrichtsmaterialien und integrierte Leistungsbewertungen unterstützt. So ergibt sich ein Unterrichtsmittel, welches Schülerinnen und Schülern dabei hilft, kritisch zu denken und problemlösungsorientiert zu agieren sowie im Kontext zu handeln und zu urteilen. Nebenbei werden die Kommunikation und die Präsentationsfähigkeit gestärkt und die Entwicklung eigener Lernstrategien wird angestoßen. Neben dem Erkenntnisgewinn stehen auch Partner- und Gruppenarbeit im Fokus.

Die dazu gehörenden Unterrichtsmaterialien behandeln wesentliche Themen des Sachunterrichts und orientieren sich am aktuellen Lehrplan der 2. bis 4. Jahrgangsstufe mit 17 Projekten und Stoff für mehr als 40 Unterrichtseinheiten. Schülerinnen und Schüler beschäftigen sich mit wissenschaftlichen Verfahren und technischen Denkweisen, indem sie verschiedene Herangehensweisen und Entwürfe testen. Im „Transport“-Projekt sollen sie beispielsweise ein Gerät entwerfen, das die Auswirkungen eines heftigen Unwetters für Menschen, Tiere und Umwelt einer betroffenen Gegend abmildert. Schülerinnen und Schüler können Lösungen für eigene sowie vorgegebene Fragestellungen entwerfen. Dabei gewinnen sie einerseits Einblicke in die Vielschichtigkeit von Problemen und Systemen, andererseits erkennen sie, dass es bei Problemen unterschiedliche Lösungswege und -verfahren oder auch Antworten geben kann. Das unterstützt die Entwicklung ihrer Kreativität und die Fähigkeit, schwierige Probleme und Aufgabenstellungen eigenständig zu lösen. Zudem können Lehrkräfte mit Hilfe des Materials ihren Unterricht differenzieren und an die unterschiedlichen Lernvoraussetzungen ihrer Schülerinnen und Schüler anpassen.

„Aus unserer Erfahrung suchen Grundschullehrkräfte Lernmaterial, das eine zeitgemäße naturwissenschaftlich-technische Bildung ermöglicht, das auf die Lehrplaninhalte abgestimmt ist und im Unterricht funktioniert. WeDo 2.0 erfüllt diese Voraussetzungen. Obendrein vermittelt es Kindern auf spielerische Weise die Grundzüge des Programmierens und entfacht dabei eine enorme Motivation für das Lernen, Forschen und Entdecken“, kommentiert Prof. Dr. Daniela Schmeinck von der Universität Köln.

Jedes der neuen WeDo 2.0 Sets besteht aus einem LEGO Education Baukasten mit 280 Teilen und Software für iPad, Android, PC und Mac. Die Software wird direkt mit dem Bausatz geliefert und beinhaltet bereits ein Einführungsprojekt. Dieses erklärt Schritt für Schritt die Hard- und Software und zeigt anschaulich deren Einsatz im Unterricht. Die Software mit grafischem Drag&Drop-Interface stellt eine einfache und intuitive Programmierumgebung zur Verfügung, mit der Schüler ab 7 Jahren ihre LEGO Modelle zum Leben erwecken. Sie beinhaltet auch ein Dokumentationswerkzeug, mit dem Schülerinnen und Schüler ihren Problemlösungsprozess erfassen können, und das Lehrkräften eine Möglichkeit zur Leistungsbeurteilung gibt.

Die neue kabellose Plattform beinhaltet zudem ein Bluetooth-Niedrigenergie-Smarthub-Element – einen elektronischen Baustein, der Teil der LEGO Education-Technologieplattform LEGO Power Functions (LPF) ist, einen Motor, einen Neigungs- sowie einen Bewegungssensor.

Eine Scratch-Schnittstelle für WeDo 2.0 (sowohl webbasiert als auch stand alone) für Macs wird im Februar 2016 und für Windows ab Juni 2016 verfügbar sein. Chromebooks werden ab der zweiten Hälfte 2016 unterstützt. Informationen, wie Lehrer LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 in der Schule einsetzen können, finden Sie unter www.LEGOeducation.de.

LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 wird zur unverbindlichen Preisempfehlung von 154,69 € in den nächsten Tagen auf www.LEGOeducation.de/shop erhältlich sein. Die umfassenden LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 Unterrichtsmaterialien kosten 297,49 €. Ein Klassensatz für 24 Schüler kostet beispielsweise 2.106,29 € brutto.

In Deutschland wird das innovative System in Form eines lebendigen Klassenzimmers erstmals von 16.02.2015 bis 20.02.2015 auf der didacta in Köln am Stand C39 in Halle 6 präsentiert!

 

Über LEGO® Education

Seit über 30 Jahren arbeitet LEGO® Education mit Lehrern und Bildungsspezialisten zusammen, um Lernkonzepte und Unterrichtsmaterialien zu entwickeln, die den Schulstoff lebendig werden lassen und Freude am Lernen vermitteln. Das Angebot von LEGO® Education unterstützt Lehrkräfte im kompetenzorientierten Unterricht in Geistes- und Naturwissenschaften, Technik, Informatik und Mathematik und fördert bei jungen Lernenden das Erlangen von Team-, Kommunikations- und Problemlösungsfähigkeiten. Diese sollen Kinder letztlich dazu befähigen, den sich wandelnden Anforderungen ihrer Lebenswelt gewachsen zu sein und aktiv ihre eigene Zukunft zu gestalten. LEGO® Education hat seinen Sitz in Billund, Dänemark und Büros auf der ganzen Welt. Mehr als 200 Mitarbeiter teilen die Vision, alle Schülerinnen und Schüler für lebenslanges Lernen zu begeistern. Mehr unter www.LEGOeducation.de