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Robotic Toy For Education

By Hartono Oey

A robotic toy is a toy with robotic capabilities. A toy that its movements are controlled by a micro controller is considered as robotic toy. It is not just another toy. Some teachers use it as teaching tool. Children love to play with it. Old tin robot toy was like a doll for boys. A robotic toy is actually children's version of robot. It has all the robot functionality. There are many robotic toy manufacturers with many product names. Choose one that is suitable for you and your kids.

Some of it comes as a ready made robot; the other comes as robotic kits. Children can assemble the robot by themselves. Sometimes they can build more than one kind of robot in one robotic kit. It is like a construction project. It needs creativity. Numerous robot movies makes children think that robot is real. Robots are like everyday friends for them. Children had a whole lot more imagination than us.

Kids can learn a lot of thing when they play it. It teaches children about construction skills, electronic skills and computing skills. They can play with weight and balance. They will realize that different materials have different weight at the same size. Balance is important for robot, especially for bi-pedal robot. They will learn by experience that the robots need minimum 3 ground point of contact to stand still. Gears and electrical motor is their next lessons. The electrical motor is the source of rotation. It transmits the power through gears. Gear cannot move by itself. Gear is a simple and complex idea in one system. We can teach them about radius and diameter. How its size will affect the rotation speed. For higher grade, we can teach about conversion between rotation and linear speed, depend of the diameter. Gear is a complex study, but it is funny to play with.

Some children are curious on how the electric motors move? Teachers can show them the cables that connect the motors to the battery, the main power source in most robotic toy. They will learn various electrical sources that can feed the toys.

Robots have much kind of sensors. Touch sensor, light sensor, microphone (to detect sounds), ultrasonic sensor are popular sensors that often included in the robotic kits. Robots use sensors to communicate with their environments.

We can teach a general robotic toy to become a specific robotic puppy, or even a mighty warrior. Thanks to the micro controller that controls the robot. Robotic toys are amazing tool to teach children

Children can share their own robotic projects. They will learn how to build a project from idea to reality. They can make their first scientific paper. They can record the main idea, and kind of tools they need. At last they can proudly show us their final robots. Teachers and parents can help by encouraging them to learn more. What is better than a curious student? They will learn by themselves! Some of them can extend their art potential by making a movie with their robotic toy as the main figure. They can create stunning sound tracks, sound effects, and edit their own video. They can event arrange their own music.

There is so much fun in using robotic toy as teaching tool. Children will love it. I bet parents and teachers will love it too. Teachers are not using it for teaching tools only, but as their own toy also.

Hartono is a computer scientist involved in artificial intelligent programming. Robotic toy is one of his interests. You can share your experience and thought about robotic toy, or robotic kits in his robotic toy blog.

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