iPal

iPal takes robots to a whole new level and into a new arena. It is designed to be a baby sitter and is called a social robot. Wires and plastic are neither social nor sociable. The premise is people already use iPads and iPhones to babysit children and so this robot is better because it is more interactive. People have used televisions to babysit children. I remember an article about junior primary teachers attaching microphones to themselves because the children would only respond to a voice which sounded electronic. I also taught a boy once whose accent and cadence were very distinct but I couldn’t place where it came from . One night I could hear the television in the background and there was the voice and the accent. It was a cartoon character. Julie Carrie Wong discusses this robot in a well composed article in The Guardian:

‘This is awful’: robot can keep children occupied for hours without supervision

It is also discussed on quartz

These sorts of technological developments are going to happen. It is important we discuss them and understand their advantages and disadvantages. A robot cannot replace a person in terms of care but there may well be some really good uses for this robot.

Raspberry Pi Robot

I have a Raspberry Pi 2 and I have been learning Python. Why shouldn’t I combine the two now and try my hand at building a little robot? This post , then, is what I have done before. When I plan to learn how to do something I gather all my ideas together on my blog. When I am ready I can then come back to my blog post and follow up on the links. I have to work out what I need, which way to proceed and how to go about it, so I need my resources here so I can create my components lists and then my action plan. There are 10 recommended  Raspberry Pi 2 robots here on intorobotics.  The video shows someone working through how to make a robot for the Raspberry Pi using Python. It’s better to see what I am supposed to be doing.  There are instructions for  a simple Raspberry Pi Robot on adafruit.  Finally, on Instructables, there are instructions for building a Raspberry Pi robot and using Python. You can buy kits which come up on searches but some of those are rather pricey. For now I just want something simple.

Lego Easter Eggs

I could not ask for more – Lego, Easter eggs and egg decorating. The first video shows a lego egg decorator using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit. It is putting robotics to a practical use for Easter. The Mindstorms kit are a sizeable financial investment so you will probably want to look, admire and move onto the second video where you can use Lego blocks to build Easter Eggs.

Get going with your Raspberry Pi

I have taught students to use Powtoon .They loved it and made some great videos  using it so it was really good to see this Powtoon on the Raspberry Pi. It is effective at showing you what it can do and what it is capable of. Many people do use it for electronics and robotics. I might do robotics but I cannot see myself using any of the electronics stuff. I don’t need it as a media centre either but I believe people do that because they can. I have a media centre running off an older HP computer and it works really well, thank you. Last night I downloaded the phone apps to remotely control the Raspberry Pi but haven’t had a chance to try them yet. There are plenty of apps for the Pi, incidentally. I have been getting used to Debian which I now realise is KDE and a bit retro , really. I am finding things I used to do and use but I went with gnome desktops which are a bit cruisier. KDE is reminding me to think things out again and it does actually get you to understand computers and computing better. I have found the Pi is slower on loading sites like You Tube or image sites but once they are loaded there is not a problem. It’s not that slow more like when the network is congested and you watch images load bit by bit.uk keyboard Nothing else has been noticeable but it is still running a UK keyboard even though I changed it to US. Not really a problem. I am just amazed at how good a computer the Pi is and the trick, I think, is to keep it simple. There have been sites which I have found invaluable and I’ll share those with you:

A beginner’s guide to the Raspberry Pi

Geek Gurl Diaries

Ultimate Guide to Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Quick Start Manual

The official Raspberry Pi site is incredibly helpful and explains things really well. It has some excellent resources and the videos are very good at setting you straight when you want to get going with a Raspberry Pi:

raspberrypi.org raspberry pi

Plobots are coming

Plobots are an example of what is coming in terms of active learning in coding and programmable technology at home and at school. They run on smart cards. One advantage is they decrease screen time so that technology in schools is not just about computers and tablets and students learn about how to make technology function. Robots are the future. They are here now in some places in the world and they are going to become more visible. If we want them as a good part of our life we need to get the next generation to engage with coding and develop ideas. Plobots are one way of starting this. The official Plobot Facebook page has a lot of helpful educational ideas which are not wholly centred on Plobots. The page looks at the wider issues and ideas with technology in education too. You can also follow Plobot on Twitter.

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