The Baxter robot has wowed children at the Lancaster Science Factory as a part of the college’s STEM-in-GEAR plan to bring engineering, science, technology and mathematics closer to kids. He can pick things up and place them on top of others, completely autonomously.
The robot is owned by by Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and although much of its duties involved picking up and stacking objects, it can also play with cars, with children controlling it using a standard TV remote control.
He is capable of creating a small structure by adding one block on top of another. You can show him how to disassemble it, and he will undo what he built. Then, he will wave goodbye!
“I think it’s all just about helping kids discover where their passion is, what lights their fire,” said Rich Nolt, the exhibit’s instructor and an employee of Thaddeus Stevens over the summer as part of the STEM-in-GEAR programme but teaches technical education at Manheim Township High School. “That’s what kids struggle with in school — being motivated.”
Also, these cool, hands-on activities help children get science by helping kids to step into reality instead of just reading a book, for example, added Herbert.
Baxter can only pick things up that weigh 5lbs or less. He can also listen to commands and can act upon some of them, but he doesn’t quite understand everything the children are able to tell him just yet. But the college is working hard to make him more advanced.
“In the future, robots could be cleaning your room and … (doing) stuff that we usually don’t like doing,” Nolt added.