Pupils learn to programme interactive robot

Pupils learn to programme interactive robot

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Four Prep School pupils have been programming an interactive robot as part of an after-school workshop to teach children robotics.

The four-week workshop, which is run by Clifton College parent and coding instructor Nica Faustino, enables pupils to use creativity and logical thinking to programme the robot. The children worked with the Softbank Robotics’ NAO, a 58 cm tall humanoid robot.

Throughout the workshop, the pupils learned how to programme NAO to do simple things like stand up, sit down and turn around as well as more complex tasks like saying certain things when its feet are off the ground. Nica demonstrated NAO’s advanced speech recognition capabilities through the Simon Says game where NAO was able to engage with the children and perform appropriate tasks from Simon Says “sneeze, sad, hungry and happy”. NAO also showed off its balancing skills with a Thai Chi routine which really impressed the pupils.

Pupil Taiki Faustino said: “It’s been really fun to learn what Nao can do and learn so much about programming and robotics. My favourite part was speaking to the robot and hearing him reply to questions and acts out certain emotions.” His friend Fergus added: “I enjoyed recording our voices and teaching the robot to say different things in different languages.”

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Robotics instructor and founder of CODEit.org, a programming company for children, Nica Faustino said: “When I created CODEit.org, I had in mind to facilitate workshops where children could turn their dreams into reality through programming, 3D modelling and animation. The robotics workshop is an avenue for the children to use their creativity and logical thinking to have their ideas acted out by the robot.”

Their expression of surprise, laughter when seeing NAO doing what they programmed is invaluable. I hope that some of them will develop a genuine interest in building robotics applications to contribute to a better world in the future.”