A Scottish inventor has developed a robot that can help kids learn how to create a mechanical object and then code it too.
Alexander Enoch developed Marty, a pint-sized ‘bot, to go further than just teaching children how to programme a robot. Created using 3D printed parts, he has been designed to engage younger children that may not be actually building the robot yet, but will hopefully inspire them later in their life.
After being inspired by research by the University of Edinburgh where Dr Enoch studied and a young relative, he set upon creating Marty and even set up his own company with the support of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
“[The company] Robotical can help children learn coding skills, mechanics and give them hands on engineering skills,” Dr Enoch told The Edinburgh Evening News. “The robot will help more kids get into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mechanical) subjects and give them the chance to get hands on with robotics.”
He explained he was working with much bigger robots while studying for his PhD at Edinburgh University, and this inspired him to create a smaller, simpler walking robot that has been designed to attract younger generations.
“I was also looking for a robot toy for my niece, Juliet, and I couldn’t find one that I liked as a robotics engineer – so I set out to make one. Robots that can walk – and are expressive – are a lot better at engaging younger children. There’s not a huge number out there,” he added.
Not only can he trundle along on his little legs, but Marty also has very expressive eyebrows that move up and down as he marches along. He can also dance and play football, with those eyebrows reacting to every movement.
“These toys have a great opportunity to be educational,” Enoch said. “Robotics is a place where programming, electronics and mechanics all converge. It’s a great way to learn about any of those subjects.
“Robotics is a growing field. The world is going to need a lot more robotics engineers – and engineers in general – over the next few years. So anything we can do to encourage people to take an interest in it has to be a good thing.”
The campaign to fund Marty will launch on Indiegogo shortly, but until then you can register your interest on the Robotical website.