Robot to make computing lessons more fun for Brit school kids

January 8th, 2009 - 1:15 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 8 (ANI): Brit schools are looking into the possibility of using humanoid robots to teach their students by the end of the year, in a bid to make computing lessons more fun.

The deal, which is about to be signed between British design company Kablamm and hundreds of secondary schools, will involve schools buying the latest MechRC robots.

The robotic gadget, designed by academics from the University of Reading, can easily be programmed by children to move around, dance, play football or even complete an assault course.

Kablamm started selling the 400 pounds robot to gadget fans three months ago, but this year hopes to transform the grown-up toy into a fully-fledged education aid.

I am really, really excited about this going into most secondary schools in the country. We need to get kids excited not just in robotics but also in technology and maths in general, the Telegraph quoted Jim Wyatt, the creative director, as saying.

Thats what the UK has traditionally been so strong in coming up with ideas and making technology accessible. We need to educate another generation to do this, he said.

Though some schools are already using NXT, a robot made by the Lego toy company, in ICT lessons, the MechRC will be the first humanoid robot to be used in British schools.

Kat Nilsson, Contemporary Science Manager, at the Science Museum in London, is very much in favour of the idea.

Its always the humanoid robots that connect with people. They really show the imagination and precision involved in engineering, Nilsson said.

In the classroom mechanics can seem dry and abstract, but when a robot is involved its like giving a child a cartoon character to interact with, Nilsson added.

The battery-operated robot, which can do a back flip, is programmed via a computer, and students have to programme each of the 17 joints to make sure the robot does not fall over and moves smoothly. (ANI)

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