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Cannybots: 3D Printed Racing Robots for Teaching Important Skills In the Classroom

cannybotsIt seems that STEM advocates are reaching out to younger and younger age brackets these days.

It’s a great strategy for teachers to reach kids early on in their learning years. With hands-on tools inside and outside the classroom like Makeblock and Click-e-Bricks, parents and teachers can teach young children important skills for the future at the age when they are the most responsive.

Now, another STEM project is getting ready for the classroom. They’re called Cannybots and they’re open source, 3D printable, racing robots.

While Cannybots are fun to race around the classroom during playtime, they’re actually intended to help children familiarize themselves with programming skills at a very young age. Check out this video of Cannybots in action on their website.

According to 3DPrintingIndustry.com, Cannybots can be programmed using simple interfaces like Arduino, Blockly, or Scratch. They can be programmed to follow lines on custom-made tracks and controlled using a smartphone, tablet, PC, or even Raspberry Pi controllers. Compared to other similar robots, children seem to be significantly more responsive to these robots, which is key to building enthusiasm towards STEM skills in younger kids.

The bots were created by Anish Mampetta and Wayne Keenan, who are expected to launch a crowd-funding project for the Cannybots very soon. The idea of 3D printable robots using low-cost electronic components is not new (anyone remember 3DRacers on Indiegogo?), but the major upside to this project is that robots are rapidly becoming mainstream teaching tools, especially among the newer generations.

Teaching STEM skills early on in the classroom is becoming an important step for every child in the 21st century. It’s more apparent than ever that skills like programming will be key to keeping up with the demand of newer technologies of the information age. So Cannybots may start out in the classroom, but they will soon be competing in another race: the race to help students keep up with new technologies, such as programming interfaces and digital manufacturing, which will be the core of tomorrow’s workplace.

It might take some getting used to, but these may be the toys that grandparents one day look back on as integral to their childhood. Here’s hoping that more toys like Cannybots emerge and help teach newer generations the skills they need to succeed in the future!

photo credit: Cannybots via 3dprintingindustry.com

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