We’ve seen robots of all forms over time, from Rosie from the Jetsons to today’s self-driving cars. There are many types of robots that perform small functions to large complex tasks.
Wait, so what exactly is a robot?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a robot is, “a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer.” So, this could be something like medical robotic arms or industrial machines. Robots can be low or high-tech.
There is a place for AI (artificial intelligence) as well. Robots can look like humans or animals, or something totally different. Merriam Webster quotes Greg Freiherr, consultant at Imaging Technology News and contributor to Air and Space Magazine, “While science fiction robots have been capable of independent thought, emotions, even a little cooking and sewing, scientists are finding that endowing a mechanical being with even the most basic human functions is a monumental challenge.” Seemingly impossible androids behaving like humans are now realistic.
Robots are everywhere! Take a look around your home or surroundings. How many can you name?
If your child is interested in robots and how everyday objects work, try one of these easy robotic activities at home!
Bristlebots require only a few supplies that you can find around the house. This robot makes a great first robot friend. Kids create moving robots that scurry around using toothbrush heads. Add googly eyes and pipe cleaners to customize them. Gather your kids’ friends and they have a bristlebot race.
Unleash your child’s artistic side! Using a plastic cup and markers, your child can create a robot that can draw and move. Robots create unique colourful drawings. This exercise teaches kids about motors, electricity and design.
Low-tech robots can be very useful too. Without using any batteries or electronics, kids make a functioning robotic arm that can grab objects. Kids focus on design, logic and mechanics. You’ll need a few popsicle sticks, skewers, bottle caps and glue.
A MakeyMakey is a hands-on robotic and electronics activity for kids of all ages. Kids can make a variety of keyboard activities like a fruit piano. A fruit piano has keys made of fruits. When kids touch them, a note will sound. Try different materials or connect the MakeyMakey to a computer game for more advanced play. Circuitry, electricity and design skills can be explored in this activity.
We love the Rube Goldberg machine. It can ignite creativity and your child’s inner engineer. Combining many simple actions, kids invent something complex and beautiful. A domino effect sets off a fascinating set of tasks. It challenges children’s visual tracking and visual motor skills too. Start off with marbles, blocks and paper towel rolls. Your child can also incorporate their robotic inventions into their Rube Goldberg machine…and keep adding on!
The development of robotic technologies is growing. There is a global desire to learn more about them and how they fit into our world. Take a look around and you’ll discover existing technologies already abound.
Does your child want to further their robotics education at home? Get your own Arduino Robotics kit! Arduinos are professionally used for prototyping and kids can make unique inventions that light up, make music and move.