The definition of robotics changes based on ubiquity (definition).
Thanks to modern technology and a thriving IT-economy which demands STEM education at earlier ages, we have a growing marketplace which provide robotics at earlier ages with the following core themes which continue to evolve today:
- Robots MOVE: Since the creation of the word “Robot” in 1920 meaning “labour,” all robots are expected to move. Pitsco Education offers a Hydraulic Robot which would create a discussion of whether it is a robot at all, because it does provide movement and power (hydraulic), but sensing and intelligence could be discussed with spirited results.
- Robots ARE INTELLIGENT: Robots are indisputably intelligent, and with our already-ubiquitous proliferation of Smartphones and Mobile computing devices making the difference between a computer and a robot drawn between a thin line of MOVEMENT. I still own a Valiant Roamer robot where directions must be plugged into the bot ahead of time in order to create movement, but if not programmed correctly, the bot will bump into locations.
- Robots NEED POWER: Like lifeforms, robots need a power source. Theo Jansen has appeared on TED several times for his creation of “a new form of life,” but if you view the video I believe he has created robots with a unique power system.
- Robots HAVE SENSORS: This would be the newest editions to the lines of robotics. In a previous post I talked about the BirdBrain Technologies LLC Robotic Finches, which for $99 have Light, temperature, and obstacle sensors
Accelerometers and Motors
Buzzer and Full-color beak LED
Do you need all FOUR in order to have a ROBOT? This would be the same argument as saying “classic cars are not CARS.” Modern robots offer much more than their classic counterparts.
Changing Culture through “Coopertition”
The Boy Scouts Offer a Robotics Patch Starting in 2011, and one of the criteria are to:
“6. Competitions. Do ONE of the following.
Attend a robotics competition and report to your counselor what you saw and learned about the competition and how teams are organized and managed.
Learn about three youth robotics competitions. Tell your counselor about these, including the type of competition, time commitment, age of the participants, and how many teams are involved.”
I can think of no better Competition that values Cooperation and “Gracious Professionalism” (called “Coopertition”) than the FIRST Robotics Competition Lines. FIRST stands For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
- Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) (Ages 6-9): Robots are built using a LEGO® base kit.
- FIRST LEGO League (FLL) (Ages 9-16): This competition uses the LEGO Robotics Series.
- FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) (Middle and High School): Robots are built using a TETRIX® platform.
- FIRST Robotics Competition (High School): This competition uses some of the most sophisticated hardware and software available.