Welwyn Hatfield schools taken over by robots
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Three robots are helping University of Hertfordshire boffins give Welwyn Hatfield pupils a crash course in robotics.
During UK Robotics Week (June 25 to 29), academics are giving pupils at Stanborough Secondary School and Hatfield Community Free School hands-on access to some of their research robots Kaspar, Pepper and Scampi.
The University of Hertfordshire’s Robotics Crash Course is designed by Adaptive Systems Research Group to inspire children about careers in computer science and robotics.
Pupils are learning everything from how robots are designed (CAD design) and created (including 3D printing) to how they are programmed, as well as the reasons for developing robots that have Artificial Intelligence.
A-level computing students at Stanborough School are coming face-to-face with Pepper, a humanoid robot designed as a daily companion.
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They’re giving Pepper customised emotions created and designed by themselves, and are learning about the practical applications and challenges of programming state-of-the-art robots.
Meanwhile, Hatfield Community Free School pupils in years three to five are getting the chance to programme Kaspar, a humanoid robot designed to help children with autism.
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They’re using Scratch, software that helps teach young people how to programme their own interactive games and animations.
The students will also have a lesson on CAD design using the 3D modeling software, Sketchup.
Scampi - a robot that looks like a spider with some legs missing - is also coming along for the ride.
Dr Luke Wood, research fellow in human-robot interaction at the University of Hertfordshire said: “We are delighted to be able to run these events giving local school pupils the opportunity to interact and programme our robots and to learn more about social robotics.
“We want to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and make children see that robotics is an accessible, exciting career.”
Stanborough’s Sahbi Benzid, curriculum leader IT and computing, said: “We are pleased that our students are going to have the opportunity to explore the practical uses of robotics in our everyday lives.
“We hope it will inspire more students to go into STEM subjects in the future and go on to becoming pioneers of the growing robotics field.”
Hatfield Community Free School’s head teacher Dr Sue Attard said: “We are honoured to have been selected to work with the University of Hertfordshire to understand the programming of social robots and have insight into the future technologies that will be valuable across the world in the lives of our present children.”