Meet The Finch, a $100 robot from Carnegie Mellon university designed to make computer science education more fun. From the press release:
A white plastic, two-wheeled robot with bird-like features, Finch can quickly be programmed by a novice to say "Hello, World," or do a little dance, or make its beak glow blue in response to cold temperature or some other stimulus. But the simple look of the tabletop robot is deceptive. Based on four years of educational research sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Finch includes a number of features that could keep students busy for a semester or more thinking up new things to do with it.
"Students are more interested and more motivated when they can work with something interactive and create programs that operate in the real world," said Tom Lauwers, who earned his Ph.D. in robotics at CMU in 2010 and is now an instructor in the Robotics Institute's CREATE Lab. "We packed Finch with sensors and mechanisms that engage the eyes, the ears -- as many senses as possible."
"Our vision is to make Finch affordable enough that every student can have one to take home for assignments," said Lauwers, who developed the robot with Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor of robotics and director of the CREATE Lab. Less than a foot long, Finch easily fits in a backpack and is rugged enough to survive being hauled around and occasionally dropped.
The Ultimate Writer is a hardware and software plan to make your own digital typewriter with an e-ink display. All you need are a keyboard, a Raspberry Pi, an e-ink display, wood and words. The plans are open-source on Github. Ultimate writer is an attempt to create the perfect digital writing device; it may also […]
Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook is unusually fancy and handsome for a platform usually associated with cheap, low-end machines, at least outside of Google’s own flag-carrier devices. How does it stack up? The Verge says its no good because despite the pretty case, high-end hardware and 4k screen, it’s unreliable and has poor battery life. Engadget thinks […]
CuloClean is a portable gadget that turns a plastic bottle into a bidet. I can’t vouch for its efficacy but it seems like a useful alternative to wiping your bum, especially as toilet paper has become a high-value currency. Apparently CuloClean supplies are also running low but it seems like you could make one yourself […]
Believe it or not, you can still score a new job in the midst of the pandemic. There are a bunch of industries under more demand stress than ever that have an immediate need to grow. Regardless of the specific role needed or company that’s hiring, one skill that can only help you score an […]
If you’ve ever tried to shoot your own videos, you know the equipment costs to do it right can mount up quickly. Even if you’re fine with capturing video on your trusty smartphone, you still need a mount to keep your phone in place. And you’ll need a mic to augment your smartphone’s not so […]
“The whole point of a programming language is to get the most out of the computer and the developer…This is why I like Python so much…few Python developers write code that is difficult to pass on to another developer.” With so much in tech so inherently complicated, that comment from Thomas Hatch, CTO and co-founder […]