As part of our Kitchen Table STEAM Program, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sharon Jones, the founder, and CEO of The dot. Consulting and the Dottie Rose Foundation, where she creates, innovates, and implements cutting edge technology focused on new-age education.
We had a number of questions about robotics, coding, and technology from children submitted through our Ask A Science program. So for the kids who are excited about science and math, take it from our expert!
“Ask a Scientist… Anything!” Submissions for Robotics Chats!
Catch the replay here of our October Ask a Scientist event with Dr. Jones, as she takes on your questions about robotics. And don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for upcoming events!
What is the coolest robot you’ve known of?
There are so many really cool robots out there right now but this one, I built this particular robot and it’s called the Q Scout. It’s a box similar to what you all have received by RoboBlock and they specialize just in robotics. And what’s really cool about this one is that I built it myself and put the sensors in and then I’m able to program it using my phone. So it’s been really cool, that process of figuring out how to put it together and then watching the sensors because that’s what drives the robot to work for sensors that connect to the Bluetooth on our phones.
Do you need to be a coder to get into robotics?
You don’t have to be a coder to get into robotics because that’s just one element of robotics. There are four buckets of things that you can think of as interests that all funnel into computer science. And one of those things is called infrastructure and that’s a lot of building engineering and putting things together. Another thing is coding, which I like a little better than the actual building. And then once it’s built, you’re like, I’ve now put that together, I’ve made it functional. So I think that you ought to have a little bit of programming knowledge, which most of us are beginning to get more access to, just like you guys are using with your hex bug textbooks.
What kind of advice can you give to kids who want to take their learning further? They got their box, they love playing with their hexapod, they have so much fun, what else can they do?
Well, I would say with the Hexapod, there’s a couple of things. You can continue to build some really cool mazes and increase your complexity on how those robots are moving. Also, I would be thinking about moving into the next step of being able to do a little bit of programming with your robot.
So one of the other robots that I will mention that’s a fairly easy transition to is something called the Spirou, which is a lot like the hex bug. The Spirou is something you can buy on Amazon for about $45 and not very expensive, but you can use this, it has the same sensor pieces and it also has an app that you can begin coding to have this robot do something based on the code you put in it. But that would be my advice is to start thinking about once you like, once you’ve created your art bot, you’ve got it.
Dr. Jones is also an award-winning educator and has presented and been published nationally and internationally on data analytics, educational practices, technology training, and technology practices. You may contact Dr. Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.