Lego’s new robotics set lets kids program a cat to play the harmonica

|An article by Adi Robertson|

 

Lots of people are already familiar with Mindstorms, the Lego robotics platform capable of building clever tools like this automatic card-signing machine. Some might also remember Lego WeDo, the simpler educational tool for teaching kids coding basics. This year at CES, Lego is bridging the gap with Boost, a basic robotics- and programming-oriented kit that’s supposed to be more playful than didactic.

Boost is built around a motorized block called a Move Hub, powered by six AAA batteries and equipped with a tilt sensor. The $159.99 Boost kit includes another motor and a combination color and distance sensor, plus 843 more traditional Lego parts. One of the most important pieces, though, isn’t included: an iOS or Android tablet for using the accompanying app, which is both a building guide and a drag-and-drop programming tool.

 

The Autobuilder (left), Guitar 4000, Vernie the Robot, and Frankie the Cat

Once kids have launched the app, they can pick from five major building projects. The most complex is a foot-high anthropomorphic robot called Vernie, but there’s also a slightly terrifying mechanical cat named Frankie; a colorful guitar; a rugged, tractor-like vehicle; and the “Autobuilder,” a 3D printer-like machine that can be programmed to put Lego together.

During the construction process, the app introduces builders to the simple programming interface: a series of puzzle pieces representing different actions, which can be chained together and triggered by a tap of the screen or a real-world action. This works a lot like Lego WeDo, but it’s specifically meant to feel like a toy. “The goal isn’t to teach them anything,” says Lego design lead Simon Kent. “But they will actually learn just by tinkering with it.”

You can program Vernie, for example, to dance and shake maracas (which can be built with parts in the set), to shoot a small projectile at a target, or to hold a conversation using preset lines. It can’t recognize what you’re saying, but it can tell when sound is coming through the iPad microphone.

Vernie’s facial expressions are programmable

Some of these interactions get complex enough that they’re almost games in themselves. Frankie “plays” a Lego harmonica by detecting when different colors hit the sensor over its mouth, then playing a sound that’s linked to that color, including recorded audio. This same method, this time with a slider that moves over different-colored frets, makes the Lego guitar playable. We’ve tried both these things, and they’re weirdly entertaining, even for adults. The Autobuilder is an actual manufacturing device composed in miniature, although it didn’t work perfectly when we tried it. Since Lego bricks are pretty easy to pull apart, it also feels unsurprisingly fragile.

The programming options we saw are heavily geared toward getting kids to play with specific objects in specific ways, not come up with their own robots. But there’s a more open-ended app feature that shows them how to make the skeleton of a vehicle, a four-legged animal, or a building. They can then use these frames to build whatever they want, using either the included Lego or their own sets.

 

A four-legged walking animal frame

Boost isn’t meant to take Mindstorms’ place, but it’s an approachable toy for younger Lego fans — and seriously, the guitar is pretty cool. The set is going on sale in the second half of 2017, and it’ll be on display at CES later this week.

source: https://www.theverge.com/ces/2017/1/4/13920762/lego-boost-robotics-programming-set-robot-cat-guitar


Children learn coding at their parents’ workplace|The Star Online

An Accenture employee mentoring young children through the AI-inspired coding tutorial.

MORE than 100 children of Accenture employees took part in the Malaysian office’s Bring Your Kid To Code Day.

The initiative is part of the company’s commitment to help children build science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and computer skills.

A coding tutorial was conducted for both children and adults with a special focus on artificial intelligence (AI).

“It may seem premature to encourage coding in children below 10 years but we have seen how their agile minds grasp coding concepts, sometimes faster than their parents,” said Accenture Malaysia technology lead Janet Yap.

“It was also a great way to let the children explore their parent’s or family’s workplace.”

The activity was part of Accenture’s global Hour of Code initiative in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week.

This follows Accenture’s pledge of US$10mil (RM41mil) to support initiatives to expand STEM and computer science education through Internet Association, a group that represents global Internet companies on matters of public policy.

“Technology is creating jobs that didn’t exist five years ago and learning to code can transform the trajectory of a student’s life and career,” said Accenture chief technology and innovation officer and chief coder Paul Daugherty.

“We’ve seen the impact that Code.org is having on students and this year we’re doing more to support that.”

For the third straight year, Accenture is teaming with Code.org, that launched Hour of Code in 2013 and other STEM-related educational initiatives.

This year, Accenture Technology harnessed its internal expertise to create a coding tutorial that gives students a better understanding of AI.

Students discover how various AI techniques can teach a robot to explore a new planet — including recognising animals and plants, understanding a new language, and conversing with inhabitants.

Copied from The Star Online.

Read more: https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2017/12/15/children-learn-coding-at-their-parents-workplace/

 


Interview With The Lifelike Hot Robot Named Sophia (Full) | CNBC

CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin interviews Sophia, a humanoid robot, about the future of artificial intelligence at a Future Investment Institute panel in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
» Subscribe to CNBC: http://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC

More on Sofia:

To Anyone who wonders who is the “hippie” on stage. According to Wiki, this amazing human is called Ben Goertzel (born December 8, 1966 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is Chief Scientist of financial prediction firm Aidyia Holdings and robotics firm Hanson Robotics; Chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC, which is a privately held software company; Chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society and the OpenCog Foundation; Vice Chairman of futurist nonprofit Humanity+; Scientific Advisor of biopharma firm Genescient Corp.; Advisor to the Singularity University; Research Professor in the Fujian Key Lab for Brain-Like Intelligent Systems at Xiamen University, China; and general Chair of the Artificial General Intelligence conference series, an American author and researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. He was the Director of Research of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (formerly the Singularity Institute).

 

Jimmy Fallon demos amazing new robots from all over the world, including an eerily human robot named Sophia that plays rock-paper-scissors.


October Event @ Little Botz Academy : Spooktacular Halloween Escapade part 1

Our special event to celebrate Halloween was planned along the second half of October starting from 16th to 31st October 2017. The first part was held on 16th-19th October in conjunction with the school holiday . Approximately 20 students had participate in the event. The children were exposed to LEGO Mindstorm EV3 with specially designed theme related to Halloween.

 

The event are still ongoing at Little Botz Academy, Atria Shopping Gallery until 31st October. Come and bring your kids to experience something wonderful for this year’s Halloween. To register, go to https://tinyurl.com/ydcp9f8t

or contact us directly at 012-9691230 | 03-77322373


Spooktacular Halloween Escapade

Can you feel it?? Ouuu~   

Halloween season is in the air! We have done so many fun Halloween activities before and still have many more planned for this year! Let’s scare-up some fun and have a frightfully spooky Halloween.

 

 Brace yourself for the ex-fear-ience and be prepared for some exciting robotics adventure!

Event Details

 Registration: RM65/session

Pick a date

 Date: 16th to 31st Oct 2017

Pick a session 
Session 1: 10.30am – 1.30pm | Session 2: 3:00pm – 6:00pm
(Available Monday to Thursday only)

Age: 7 – 16 years old
Tools: LEGO Mindstorms EV3
Certificate will be provided.

Click here to register: http://www.littlebotz.com/v3/halloween-escapade-2017/

 Location:
Little Botz™ Academy (Branch)
Atria Shopping Gallery
Lot No. S22. Second Floor.
Jalan SS 22/33. Damansara Jaya.
47400, Petaling Jaya. Selangor.

☎️ Call/Whatsapp:
03 – 7732 2373 | +012-969 1230
✉️ Email:atria@littlebotz.com

⚠️⚠️ We welcome walk-in registration but due to high demand, pre-registration is strongly recommended.
Click here to register: http://www.littlebotz.com/v3/halloween-escapade-2017/

#littlebotzacademy
#bridgingthefuture
#halloween2017
#schoolholiday


How Do You Make a Likable Robot? Program It to Make Mistakes

Which robot do you find easier to like — “Iron Man” Tony Stark’s efficient helper J.A.R.V.I.S., or the error-prone Dummy, which fumbled with kitchen equipment and sprayed an exasperated Stark with fire-extinguishing foam?

You might think a robot would be more likely to win people over if it were good at its job. But according to a recent study, people find imperfect robots more likable.

The researchers found that people liked the error-prone robot more than the error-free one, and that they responded to the robot’s mistakes with social signals that robots could possibly be trained to recognize, in order to modify future behavior.

For the study, 45 human subjects — 25 men and 20 women — were paired with a robot that was programmed to perform two tasks: ask interview questions, and direct several simple Lego brick assemblies.

For 24 of the users, the robot behaved flawlessly. It posed questions and waited for their responses, and then instructed them to sort the Lego bricks and build towers, bridges and “something creative,” ending the exercise by having the person arrange Legos into a facial expression to show a current emotional state, according to the study.

But for 21 people in the study, the robot’s performance was less than stellar. Some of the mistakes were technical glitches, such as failing to grasp Lego bricks or repeating a question six times. And some of the mistakes were so-called “social norm violations,” such as interrupting while their human partner was answering a question or telling them to throw the Lego bricks on the floor.

The scientists observed the interactions from a nearby station. They tracked how people reacted when the robots made a mistake, gauging their head and body movements, their expressions, the angle of their gaze, and whether they laughed, smiled or said something in response to the error. After the tasks were done, they gave participants a questionnaire to rate how much they liked the robot, and how smart and human-like they thought it was, on a scale from 1 to 5.

How do you like me now? People rated robots as more likable if the 'bots made mistakes.

How do you like me now? People rated robots as more likable if the ‘bots made mistakes.

Credit: Center for Human-Computer Interaction

The researchers found that the participants responded more positively to the bumbling robot in their behavior and body language, and they said they liked it “significantly more” than the people liked the robot that made no mistakes at all.

However, the subjects who found the error-prone robot more likable didn’t see it as more intelligent or more human-like than the robot that made fewer mistakes, the researchers found.

Their results suggest that robots in social settings would probably benefit from small imperfections; if that makes the bots more likable, the robots could possibly be more successful in tasks meant to serve people, the study authors wrote.

And by understanding how people respond when robots make mistakes, programmers can develop ways for robots to read those social cues and learn from them, and thereby avoid making problematic mistakes in the future, the scientists added.

“Future research should be targeted at making a robot understand the signals and make sense of them,” the researchers wrote in the study.

“A robot that can understand its human interaction partner’s social signals will be a better interaction partner itself, and the overall user experience will improve,” they concluded.

The findings were published online May 31 in the journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI.

source: www.livescience.com


Little Botz™ Academy Merdeka Activities – Battle to Merdeka


“Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!” These iconic words were shouted by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia (back then known as Malaya) on August 31, 1957.
As that generation fades away, Malaysia’s fight for independence is fast becoming something relegated solely to history books. So understanding the linkages between past and present is absolutely basic for a good understanding on how the world worked then and how it works now.Join us to create a valuable teaching moments with these Independence Day activities! From Engineering to science; history to art, kids age 7 and above will love celebrating this year with these August 31st activities at Little Botz Academy.
YES! I’M INTERESTED.
(*Terms and Conditions Applies)

⌨ Registration:

LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Workshop

Date: 26 and/or 27 August 2017
Day: Saturday and/or Sunday
Time: 10.00a.m to 5p.m (Lunch will be provided)
Venue: Little Botz Academy,Atria Shopping Gallery

Tentative:

10:00 AM – Registration
10:30 AM – Introduction of Class Opening
10:45 AM – Grouping and Ice breaking
10:50 AM – LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Hardware & Software PART 1
11:00 AM – Build a themed robot and mission

12:45 PM – Lunch Break

02:00 PM – LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Hardware & Software PART 2
03:00 PM – Build a themed robot and mission
03:45 PM – Test & Troubleshoot
04:15 PM – Mini Competition
04:30 PM – Certification
05:00 PM – End

🏢 Venue:
Little Botz Academy
Atria Shopping Gallery,
Level 2, Lot S22,
Jalan SS 22/23 Petaling Jaya.
Selangor, Malaysia

Call/Whatsapp: +6018-3580232
✉️ Email: atria@littlebotz.com

 

YES! I’M INTERESTED.
(*Terms and Conditions Applies)
 

Why choose Little Botz Academy School Holiday program?

Our expertly crafted activities are designed around tailoring the teaching and learning to suit each individual’s needs. Students who attend these Merdeka – Robotics Workshop will be extended, encouraged, and challenged while being supported in a small group setting by one of our experienced and qualified teachers. The school holiday adventure program are currently targeted to students age 7 and above.

Our Aims

The aims of the programs are to:

1. Giving children a new way to learn Science, Technology, Math, History and Engineering.
2. Provide children with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the rapidly developing field of computational intelligence, robotics and other related areas.
3. Encourage an independence of thought, an intellectual curiosity and a critical approach to evidence, theories and concepts in a theme-led environment.

Learning Outcomes 

On successful completion of the programs, they will be able to:
1. Gather, organise and critically evaluate information needed to formulate and solve problems.
2. Apply acquired knowledge effectively and efficiently in computational intelligence, robotics, and related areas.
3. Display creativity and innovation in solving unfamiliar problems.

YES! I’M INTERESTED.
(*Terms and Conditions Applies)

Visit our Instagram and Facebook to check out previous activities and workshop

 


Introducing our new Flexi- Class concept at Little Botz Academy

[ROBOTICS AND ENGINEERING CLASS FOR CHILDREN!]

Hey! Hey! Hey! 😁😁

We always look forward to provide the best way for your kids to learn at Little Botz Academy!!

📌 What is Flexi-Class?

Students may enrol at any time during the year and progress at their own pace within their enrolment period, guided by instructors who strive to meet individual needs.

Students start the class on a set date, and develop with their instructors a schedule to complete the course within the next 3 months.

Available Classes:
🔼 LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (Age requirements: 7 and above)
🔼 LEGO Education WeDo (Age requirements: 5 – 7y/o)

📌 Benefits

🔼 Use the latest LEGO Education robotics technology to build and program cool creatures/model which can move using motors, sensors, gears and wheels.

🔼 Nurture children’s STEM skills with fun robotics classes.

🔼 Our robotics and engineering classes are great fun and brilliant for nurturing skills in maths, technology, mechanics, construction and engineering.


Interested?

Give us a call/Whatsapp or drop us an email:
☎ Phone: 03 – 77322373
☎ Call/Whatsapp: +018-358 0232
✉️ Email:atria@littlebotz.com

or pay us a visit!

Little Botz™ Academy (Branch)
Atria Shopping Gallery
Lot No. S22. Second Floor.
Jalan SS 22/33. Damansara Jaya.
47400, Petaling Jaya.
Selangor.


We are in! Are you? Join the global IEEE Collabratec™ community

IEEE Collabratec™ is an integrated online community where technology professionals can network, collaborate, and create — all in one central hub.

The IEEE Collabratec™ online community offers a suite of productivity tools and is available to technology professionals around the world with exclusive features for IEEE members.
Plus sign up is free to everyone.

IEEE Collabratec™ can help you:

  • Connect with global technology professionals by location, technical interests, or career pursuits.
  • Access research and collaborative authoring tools.
  • Establish a professional identity to showcase key accomplishments.

Bright Minds. Bright Ideas.