The first product from Sony's Global Education division, a candy-colored robot-building toy called Koov, is now ready for all of us to order. The toy, which is Sony's attempt to topple Lego Mindstorms' dominance in the STEM toy market, comprises of blocks that you can put together with motors and sensors.
You've seen apps and toys that promise to teach your child to code. Now enter the robots. At the CES electronics show in January, coding robots came out in force. One convention hall area was packed with everything from chip-embedded, alphabet-like coding blocks to turtle-like tanks that draw on command.
Robots have transformed industrial manufacturing, and now they are being rolled out for food production and restaurant kitchens. Already, artificial intelligence (AI) machines can do many tasks where learning and judgment is required, including self-driving cars, insurance assessment, stock trading, accounting, HR and many tasks in healthcare. So are we approaching a jobless future, or will new jobs replace the ones that are lost?
No one would call Russia’s government and budgetary bureaucracy particularly nimble, nor its defense industry particularly advanced. Certainly, it trails Western economies in such key areas as communication equipment, microelectronics, high-tech control systems, and other key technologies. But in certain aspects of the field of unmanned military systems, Russia may be inching ahead of its competition in designing and testing a wide variety of systems and conceptualizing their future use.
In years past, some coding toys seemed too complex, too boring, too expensive. But this year gives me hope that we’re coming a long way in terms of getting kids excited about STEM skills and coding basics, and giving them plenty of options to find the one that best appeals to them. Here, just a few favorites.
Bellrobot team at Bell Education Company has announced the launch of their new modular interactive robotics learning kit for kids named Mabot, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in October 2017. The educational toy is the modular robot kit that allows nearly endless combinations of robot builds that is simple to use, educational and fun for the whole family.
Although many such robots are geared toward kids and STEM education, adults with limited coding knowledge can also have fun while learning coding with them. But the difference is that adults aren’t normally in daily classroom settings that teach coding like kids are.
Using this technology, called visual foresight, the robots can predict what their cameras will see if they perform a particular sequence of movements. These robotic imaginations are still relatively simple for now – predictions made only several seconds into the future – but they are enough for the robot to figure out how to move objects around on a table without disturbing obstacles.
UC Berkeley researchers have developed a robotic learning technology that enables robots to imagine the future of their actions so they can figure out how to manipulate objects they have never encountered before. It could help self-driving cars anticipate future events on the road and produce more intelligent robotic assistants in homes.
Future robots won’t be limited to humanoid form (like Boston Robotics’ formidable backflipping Atlas). They’ll be invisibly embedded everywhere in common objects. Such as a shoe that can intelligently support your gait, change stiffness as you’re running or walking, and adapt to different surfaces -- or even help you do backflips.