Thursday, September 26, 2002

"Bring Your Robotic Dog To School" Day was a big success.

Gearbox visited Banana's Grade 5 class for the last 10 minutes. Not wanting the visit to be just a "cool toy" show, I started by talking with the class about what computers are, how people provide information (input) into a computer and how they get results (output) from the computer. Prior to coming into class, I had disassembled Gearbox down to the core, legs arm and tail unit. After discussing computers and how they get input and give output, I discussed how humans (as computers) get input from our senses and we process them and act (give output) on the results. I then brought out one of Gearbox's legs and drew parallels to the sensors on Gearbox's feet and human's sense of touch. I discussed Gearbox's ability to see, hear and have balance, then compared it to our (human's) much keener (but basically the same) senses, all while assembling Gearbox's legs, tail and head. With Gearbox back together, Banana took over the show and gave him some commands, let him chase and kick his ball and let the other kids touch and (c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y) pick him up. Gearbox ended up staying and doing tricks for twenty minutes after the last bell. I talked to one parent who was truly interested in robotics, discussing where I had gotten Gearbox and what I planned to do with him.

What fun.

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