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EDUCATION - Curricula & Lesson Programs

STEM education is the key to the future success of our students, educational institutions, industry and economy.  See NREF'S comprehensive index of curricula and lesson programs, where you can drill down and find a wide variety of both free and commercially available teaching resources.  More


Latest Robotics News


In recent years, Walt Perko created a robotics education program for kids, the RoboGuts STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) program.  Starting with a new, low-cost RoboGuts circuit board, it is an entry level system that targets youngsters in the 5 to 10-year-old range.  Kids not only learn about electronic components, structured programing, but also how to build a working robot from the parts they print on a 3D printer.
Walt has been teaching beginner robot classes since 2011, and 3D CAD for beginners since 2012, and brings that experience to this offering.  RoboGuts includes a custom designed beginner µController circuit board that is compatible with a wide range of microprocessors used in robotics education.

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New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a large Silicon Valley venture capital firm, sees the future and it’s in freight load hauling. Bernadette Tansey reported on Xconomy IT that NEA played a leading role in a $42m Series C financing round announced by Transfix, which was directed at a traditional industry not necessarily seen as a likely candidate for disruptive investment in artificial intelligence (AI). Robotics is coming to the interstate highway system on board semi-tractor trailer hauling rigs, and it’s much more than GPS.

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Think Tech Hawaii, hosted by Ted Ralston, offers particularly good online video programming covering all things drones and UAS. His show, Where the Drone Leads, is particularly relevant, today. In this recent show on the use of drones to facilitate public safety, Ted interviews George Purdy, of Drone Services Hawaii, UAS Lanai.

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The new educational table-top ‘Jet’ robot kits from NVIDIA, shipping from ServoCity, are among the most advanced such kits we have seen, and appear to mark a watershed moment in educational robotics. Two versions are available, based either on the Jetson TX1 or TK1 board, to better match your budget. Utilizing the ROS operating system, they come with new, sophisticated graphics processing units (GPUs) that are blindingly fast and that support powerful onboard CPUs to provide these robots with remarkable deep learning AI capabilities.

Moreover, the new kits are fully supported by curricula, forums and a variety of resources for educators ranging from webinars to resource libraries. The robotics teaching kit covers introductory and advanced topics including ROS, sensors, computer vision, machine learning, dead reckoning, path planning and more.

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An MIT student team has designed and tested a disaster response drone with the ability to stay aloft for 5 days. This is a solution for challenging situations in which the normal communications infrastructure is disabled, which often happens in disaster scenarios. This under-150 pound, 24-foot wingspan UAV is designed to bolster telecommunications systems in disaster scenarios. But it’s not yet a perfect solution and is being modified to meet FAA requirements.

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