Jade Robot: Hands on STEM for kids and classrooms

18 June 2015

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Jade_MimeticsThe Jade Robot is a fully-developed educational robot designed to engage and excite the next generation of scientists and engineers. It has just completed six months of in-classroom testing with students ranging from Grade 5 to 11, teaching them about robotics and programming while changing their attitudes towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (aka “STEM”). Having tested the robot and classroom materials, we are now crowdfunding to help bring the Jade Robot to more students.

Created by Mimetics, the Jade Robot is an innovative, fully assembled robot that is manufactured in Canada. The large OLED display provides an introduction to the robot and configuration menus as well as the ability to create surprisingly sophisticated applications which respond to sensor inputs. The object and light sensors are all-aspect, providing the ability to sample the environment around the robot, not just in front of it. The built in Reflectance Spectrometer provides students with a working instrument to help them understand the challenges faced by NASA with the Curiosity rover on Mars. Programmed through Bluetooth, users can create Scratch and C applications for the Jade Robot.

Despite being fully assembled, the Jade Robot is designed for expansion. For example, it’s got simple add-ons like this pen holder …

… this camera/gripper combination, which uses the Bluetooth link for bi-directional transmission of movement commands, data and video:

… as well as user-designed I2C Expansion adapters, which provide functions like digital compasses, accelerometers and remote weather sensors.

The Jade Robot wasn’t created in a day. As can be seen in the above animation, it went through many iterations to get from miscellaneous PCBs on a sheet of Plexiglas to the robust and rugged robot that has been enjoyed (and abused) by thousands of students.

Along the way, we listened to the input of many, many users. One of the most surprising requests from users was to get rid of the plastic cases that most educational robots have, and provide students with bare PCBs with labeled parts so that the technology is not hidden from them but is something that they can touch and experience.

Please help us crowdfund for the Jade Robot so that we can engage and excite the next generation in STEM!

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Myke Predko is Chief Roboticist at Mimetics.
Myke Predko is Chief Roboticist at Mimetics.

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