Educational Kit from CMU Can Turn Artwork and Crafts Into Robots

July 27, 2012 at 3:34 am 1 comment

In our summer camps, two of the most popular activities have been Scratch and Pico Crickets.  Unfortunately, the company has been bought out by Lego and is being dismantled in favor of their WeDo, which isn’t anywhere close to the same thing.  I’m excited about Hummingbird — I hope that it captures some of the Pico Crickets excitement.

While educational robotic kits traditionally have focused on the technology itself — the building of a robot — Hummingbird treats robotics as just one element that can be combined with craft materials and text to communicate thoughts, feelings or ideas.

“We want students to become inventors of technology rather than users of technology,” said Robotics Professor Illah Nourbakhsh, whose CREATE Lab developed Hummingbird for a project called Arts & Bots. “Hummingbird feeds a student’s natural curiosity about technology by enabling her to incorporate robotics into something she is making that is meaningful or useful.”

The results often amount to kinetic sculptures that use sensors to detect changes in their environment and respond with movement and/or light displays. A cardboard dragon that turns its head and tries to bite anyone who comes close is one example. Students in West Virginia built a working replica of Star Wars’ R2D2.

via Press Release: Roboticize Your World: Educational Kit Can Turn Artwork and Crafts Into Robots-Carnegie Mellon News – Carnegie Mellon University.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. fgmartin13  |  July 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Mark it’s not correct to blame LEGO for the Playful Invention Company’s decision to suspend Pico Cricket production. Some components in the design went end of life, and the principals made the difficult decision of electing to move on to other projects, rather than invest in an expensive and time-consuming re-engineering effort. Fred.


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