Help Me Robot! - Making Technology and Science For Kids Fun

Hey teachers, parents, grandparents & kids! Here’s an article about Robots that a talented Science Writer from Russia, Svetlana Zernes, and I worked on together.

As always I am looking for ways to make technology and science for kids interesting, applicable and fun so I was really fortunate to have __Svetlan__a contact me with some neat ideas. I hope you like this first one. There are more to follow! After I read this article to the 3 L’s I did ask them if they could design and build a robot what would they get it to do for them? Loghlen said “my homework!” Hmmm….. Luke said “my chores” Hmmm…….. Leah said “help Mommy!”. I like Leah’s answer the best. How about the kids in your life? What would they build a robot for?

Help Me Robot!

The year 2050 will (perhaps) be the year of an unusual football world cup. A phalanx of robots will battle the best human soccer players. However, for that to become a reality, our iron “sportsmen” need to be seriously improved, because now, even something as easy as kicking the ball is difficult for them. Through the years people have dreamed of making robots similar to people. For the time being, robots do not look much like people at all! They do come in plenty of forms and sizes: one of them as rectangular as a desk, others as tiny as insects. Each of them is able to do something special. Japanese pupils have a robot teacher called Saya. She can even smile if her student pleases her with his or her answer. The robot Asimo serves as a butler. He kindly opens the door and invites guests into a room. Papero, the robotic translator, understands human speech and also translates it into other languages. The Bonryu robot is made in the form of a dragon with a camera in his head. Bonryu guards the house and sends video to the owner’s computer. These robots are not fantastic dreams. Robots like these help us worldwide today. Of course, many people would like a robo-pet, one that does not require expensive food or cleaning up after! The current most famous robo-dog is called Aibo. The first robo-animals were bulky and silly, but Aibo runs and jumps like a real dog, wags his tail, and plays with children. There are also robo-cats, a robo-ostrichs and a robo-nightingales, and even robo-fish made from flexible plastic which swims like a real tuna! Of course, the reality is the majority of robots are work-a-holics which toil away in factories doing the same task again and again with perfection, and not the amusing ones which get most of the popular press. We have become much more productive in the past 50 years due to our mechanical friends. Robots are much more efficient at putting together cars and computers, and one day, they may become complex and skilled enough to compete with the best human soccer team. But for now, the world cup trophy is safe in human hands.