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VEX: An Educational Robotics for Everyone

VEXcode

Why should I learn robotics? What are the benefits of learning it? Why educational robotics? Does it help me in the future? Some of the questions that pop into my head when I hear about robotics. Is it something useful for me to know? Nowadays, a lot of kids and adults are getting interested in AI and robotics. It influences every aspect of work and home. It’s becoming the driving technology underpinning a whole new generation of autonomous devices and cognitive artefacts. In view of this, I have gotten a chance to look at one of the world’s famous robotics competitions, VEX Robotics Competition. 

VEX competitions foster skills in thinking, questioning, experimenting and playing and capitalize on the motivational effects of competitions and robotics to help all students create an identity as a STEM learner.VEX Robotics has a wide variety of robotics kits from Grades Pre-K to Collegiate. Each kit has its own skills set that is designed to cater to student’s needs of all grade levels. It’s a complete educational robotics continuum that allows school admins to both vertically and horizontally align their STEM curriculum K-12. 

VEX Robotics2

With their VEXcode layout, students can start right away and easily. It’s consistent across blocks and text with all of their kits. Students can focus more on creating with technology rather than navigating a new layout as they progress from elementary to high school. 

VEXcode

On top of that, if students are away from their robots, they can still continue their learning with their newest VEXcode VR. It’s a 100% online, browser-based platform that allows students to experience all of the features of VEXcode platform with a virtualized robot. 

VEXcode VR

If you ever need a supplemental educational resource for free, VEX Robotics gives you access to their STEM Labs. It’s an easy to follow STEM lesson plan that aligns with educational standards. It contains hands-on lessons that encourage teamwork and collaboration.

STEM Labs

Experience the VEX technology now to get started with STEM education: https://www.vexrobotics.com/

References:

https://www.vexrobotics.com/competition

https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexcode

https://www.onlynaturalenergy.com/why-is-robotics-important

Start your Coding and Drone Journey with CoDrone!

drone_inhands

Drones have momentously shaped the education of today’s generation. There are quite a number of drones in the market, but only a few are used in learning. These past few years, drones in education are widely used and programmable drones are being utilized for STEM learning.

types-of-drones

Robolink, which is a company that aims to make STEM education accessible, engaging and fun for all has created one great drone for all to experience. CoDrone is the first ever programmable drone that was designed to teach you programming. It’s light, sleek and flies with an appeal. It is a perfect way to start your code programming journey!

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CoDrone comes in three (3) drone kit types – CoDrone Pro, Lite and Mini. Each one has its unique way to cater to your needs whether starting with a small version of the CoDrone which is the CoDrone mini that’s smaller cousin of the Pro/Lite or the CoDrone Pro which is pretty much the same as the Lite version that includes a buildable remote that allows you to expand into Arduino, Python and Blockly while with CoDrone Lite, programming languages used are Python and Blockly only.

CoDrones

These drone building kits come with all the parts you need to build a programmable controller and drone. It also includes step-by-step tutorials to get you coding in no time and these programmable drones give you the freedom to learn the basics of programming. It only takes 10 minutes to build and fly your CoDrone. Learn how to program by following free tutorials available online at Robolink.com.

Learning to code is fast and simple with CoDrone. Build your own drone with this light and easy to use programmable drone and explore the world of coding and be effective in your classroom and technology education.

References:

https://shop.robolink.com/pages/codrone-pro-lite

https://dronenodes.com/codrone-programable-drone/

https://shop.robolink.com/pages/about-us

https://www.stemfinity.com/CoDrone

https://3dinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/types-of-drones.jpg

Start a Great Introduction on Robotics with Robolink’s Rokit Smart

rokitsmart

Ever wonder what to give your kids for their birthday? Or perhaps you want them to learn and be involved with robotics with the gift that you’ll give them? There is just the right product for you and your tech savvy kids – Robolink’s Rokit Smart, one of the best robot kits for kids! It is Robolink’s original programmable robot kit perfect for those who want to start coding. This is considered a beginner robotics tool and a great introduction to both robotics and programming – a good robotics gift for children ages 12 years old and below and a good way to learn robots for elementary students in middle school.

rokit_smart_bugs_20160412

The kit includes a complete set of tools for building real robots – these are structural pieces that make up the body of each robot, and an Arduino Microcontroller, which controls the movements and actions of the robot as defined by whatever code is loaded onto it. 

FullSizeRender-1

No need to worry on how to jump start with the kit as the creator’s website, Robolink.com gives you programming lessons and instructions for building 11 robots using the Rokit Smart. Yes, you heard it right, 11 different robots from one awesome kit! The programming lessons are well-written and very easy to understand. These instructions must be followed precisely or else, the upload will fail.

This specific robot will let your kids learn design thinking and further code programming. By simply just creating their own design, they are able to build skills and even challenge themselves positively.  The Robolink website also enables their users to experience engineering scenario, where their designs are constrained by the rule of competition.

smart1_20160412

Rokit Smart has also been featured in Wall Street Journal and endorsed as one of the best robot toys for building STEM skills. One feature that’s worth noting which the Wall Street Journal pointed is that ability to program Rokit Smart with Arduino and how Rokit Smart robots can be programmed to navigate paths and mazes. Now that’s one great robot to start from – it is indeed a great introduction to engineering and design thinking for kids.

References:

https://shop.robolink.com/pages/rokit-smart

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best-robot-toys-for-building-kids-stem-skills-11588334425

https://www.robolink.com/rokit-smart-featured-by-wall-street-journal/

https://engineering.purdue.edu/INSPIRE/Reviews/kits/rokit-smart

Experience AI with Robolink Facial Expression Recognition App

Facial-Recognition-1024x483

What is Facial Recognition Algorithms?

In the past years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and teachable machine alternative have become the major way of automatically extracting information like facial recognition technology. This technology applies the science of biometrics to a person’s facial features. Facial recognition algorithms create a biometric template by detecting feature points of human faces, including location of the eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth and jawline. 

facial-recognition

You may watch this kind of technology from scenes on films and TV shows where FBI agents use facial recognition technology to search for criminals and help with investigations. They can match a recently taken photo or video against a database of existing photos to help identify risky faces.

Facial-Recognition-1024x483

Robolink Facial Expression Recognition App

Now, you can experience facial recognition technology yourself – introducing Robolink’s AI web app that recognizes your own facial expression (try the free trial here – https://www.robolink.com/facial-expression-recognition/). This is a no-code AI platform that lets you recognize facial expressions or emotions such as happy, angry, sad, fearful and disgusted. All you need is a webcam from a computer/laptop to identify your face, click the start button and you’re all set! You can see the percentage on the side based on the facial expressions detected from the image or video presented.  

Facial Expression Recognition App
Facial Expression Recognition App sample

Who can learn Artificial Intelligence?

Absolutely everyone. This technology can be taught to everyone who wants to learn AI technology. Learn AI for free with Robolink’s intro class and explore how to learn an Artificial Intelligence application and code programming with some of the widely used programming languages such as AI programming with Python and C++. Now that’s an amazing experience with Artificial Intelligence! This could be a start of your road map for Artificial Intelligence learning and development.

References:

https://www.robolink.com/facial-expression-recognition/

https://www.aware.com/facial-recognition/

https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/31125521/57224752-ad3dc080-700a-11e9-85b9-1357b9f9bca4.gif

https://www.aware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/facial-recognition.png

Deep Learning with Robolink Object Detection App

Object detection

Have you ever seen an object or anything you don’t know or can’t even figure out? Are you curious to know and find out about it? Deep learning-based object detection is a computer technology or a teachable machine alternative that detects instances of objects of a certain class within images or videos. With either an image or video stream, an object detection model can figure out which objects might be present and provide information about the position, etc. It can possibly detect not just a single object but also multiple objects present in the provided photo.

What is the difference between image classification, localization and object detection?

Image classification involves classifying the object in a given image. Image localization can identify the location of a single object. Object detection combines the two by localizing and classifying one or more objects in an image.

Object detection

Robolink’s Object Detection application 

Robolink has already introduced Zumi, a self-driving robot that can classify images. This time, they introduced a new no-code AI platform that can detect objects. Robolink object detection app has a pre-trained object detection model that can detect 80 objects that you can try. It uses a webcam from the laptop or computer to identify the images.

Pre-trained object detection

Object Detection Demo

The Object Detection demo shown below could identify 4 items including the person behind the objects. This app can detect multiple objects at the same time whether it’s a real object or just a photo.

Object Detection App - Demo
Multiple real objects
Object detection dog
Image from a mobile phone

This app does a great job in identifying objects and through this, I learn AI for free. I have tried using it many times and it has almost identified everything I’ve shown as long as it is with their pre-trained object list. This could be a good machine learning course for beginners. Try and experience Robolink Object Detection application here: https://www.robolink.com/object-detection/

References:

https://www.robolink.com/object-detection/

https://www.datacamp.com/community/tutorials/object-detection-guide

Getting Started with Mask Detection App

Face Mask Detection App

During the last few years, we’ve seen quite an increase in the number of apps powered by different image detection technologies introduced by different companies on the market. One of the latest developments these days is mask detection AI learning which is viable due to the current situation the world is facing. 

Using a system based on machine learning, face mask detection using OpenCV or Arduino, Pytorch face mask detection or face mask dataset Kaggle, there are some face mask apps now that are designed to keep you safe in indoor environments by detecting human faces wearing masks. Let’s take a look at a no-code AI platform mask recognition software, Robolink’s Mask Detection App.

Mask Detection

Robolink’s Mask Detection app can be accessed through a webcam-based gadget such as a laptop or computer. It has a pre-trained mask model that can detect faces with mask and no mask. By clicking the test button, it captures a frame from webcam streaming and it detects faces and labels it with either mask or no mask.

Pre-trained model - Mask Detection

Once done with the testing, you can train your own machine by hitting the train button. It has two buttons, Mask and No Mask. When the Mask button is clicked, it captures the image from the webcam and detects the face. The captured data is added to the ‘mask’ class. Same goes when you hit the No Mask button but the data is added to the ‘no mask’ class. You can capture as many images as you want and it will be shown on right next to the mask/no mask button. Once done, hit the Train button to train the model. 

Mask__No Mask

This app is a teachable machine alternative as it is also easy to use and let you experience artificial intelligence technology. It might be a good machine learning course for beginners as it helps you how to self study artificial intelligence. Also, it would be a helpful solution for business especially nowadays that a face mask is necessary wherever you go.

References:

https://www.robolink.com/mask-detection/

https://img.etimg.com/thumb/msid-77782370,width-650,imgsize-319096,,resizemode-4,quality-100/masks-may-protect-the-people-wearing-them-by-reducing-the-amount-of-droplets-from-others-that-might-make-contact-with-them-.jpg

A Great and Fun Robotics Learning Adventure with VEX!

VEX V5
VEX Robotics

Want to make your kids take a learning adventure with robotics? Start the exploration with VEX robotics and see a lot of fun and cool ways to learn robotics. VEX robotics is a robotics program for elementary through university students designed to foster STEM learning by allowing students to build custom and programmable robots. All you need to have is a Vex robotics creation kit, some batteries and a little imagination and a desire to build! Through the basic kit, you can build and control a robot with a wireless radio transmitter (like a remote-controlled car) that you can design on your own. You can also do simple features and make your own robot interact with other robots too.

VEX ROBOTICS

The Vex Robotics Starter kit allows you to build an autonomous only robot using the other parts included and various sensor types. Starter Kit includes:

Vex robotics have prepared a wide-array of products that suits kids in all levels – truly Vex Robotics is educational robotics for everyone!

VEX 123

Vex 123 is designed for kids in preparatory school. This includes an interactive, programmable robot that takes robotics and Computational Thinking off of the screen and brings them into the hands of elementary students.

VEX_123_3

VEX GO

Vex GO on the other hand, is an affordable STEM construction system that encourages children at grade school levels to develop their natural imagination. VEX GO utilizes the VEX IQ plastic construction system and adapts it for elementary students.

VEX GO

VEX IQ

VEX IQ is for programming enthusiasts who want to take up their robotics learning to the next level. It is a snap-together robotics system designed for elementary students who are just beginning with their programming journey and at the same time still be able to challenge advanced users.

VEX_IQ

VEX V5

Lastly, we have the VEX V5 which represents the 5th generation of the Vex products where it makes robotics learning approachable to students. It gives opportunity in learning and developing computational thinking skills as well as engineering components to students for them to use in the future.

VEX V5

Vex robotics and its products contribute to the developing skills of a child. It encourages creativity, teamwork, leadership, passion and problem-solving among groups. In fact, Vex robotics has annual competitions and was named the largest robotics competition in the world by Guinness World Records. They even offered a classroom challenge just last year – the Vex Go challenge! The Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation launches this challenge which provides young students with opportunities to showcase their learning through participating in online challenges. This unique robotics challenge provides curriculum and educator resources engaging students to develop scientific concepts as well as building confidence, perseverance and enthusiasm for learning. All these and more in a one great, learning adventure of STEM learning and robotics with VEX Robotics!

References:

https://www.vexrobotics.com/

https://www.vexrobotics.com/education

https://www.vexrobotics.com/276-2750.html

https://www.roboticseducation.org/vex-go/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VEX_Robotics

http://www.andybrain.com/extras/vex-robotics-design-system-review.htm

How to Program Sumo Robots with Arduino

Sumo Robot

What is a Sumo Robot?

Have you ever watched a sumo wrestling match? How about robots doing sumo wrestling? Yes, there is such a thing called Sumo robot which is also considered a sport too! This is a sport where two robots attempt to push each other out of a circle, typically just like the actual sumo wrestling match. To make it more challenging, competitors need to program the robots in such a way that it will find its opponent (usually accomplished with infrared or ultra-sonic sensors) and to push it out of the flat arena. A robot should also avoid leaving the arena, usually by means of a sensor that detects the edge.

Sumo Robot

How to program a Sumo Robot?

These tips and tricks can all be done through sumo robot programming. You can create powerful and innovative sumo robots by programming it through Arduino. Programming strategies for robotic combat are possible by using robot sumo for Arduino – This will allow you to program and download C code onto your Rokit Smart sumo kit which is another component that you need in building your sumo robot. The Rokit smart sumo kit can be purchased from Robolink. By setting up Arduino to Rokit Smart, you will be able to create programming strategies ready for robotic combat. Setting up the smart inventor USB driver is also a requirement in building this super robot. Just by connecting the smart inventor USB driver to your computer and the Rokit Smart main board, you are all set!

Sumo Robot

Sumo Robot with Ultrasonic Sensor

Sumo robot Arduino codes and other steps in Arduino sumo robot design can be found in Robolink’s website (https://learn.robolink.com/lesson/sumo-bot-with-ultrasonic-sensor/) where you can have step-by-step procedure on how to program your ultrasonic sensors and also give you a library (set of functions and variables) that will help and orient users with improved functionality when coding. They also provide video tutorials that will transfer knowledge on coding components and demonstrate on how to make your sumo robot work.

This is indeed a fun way to acquire basic and fundamental technological skills and also helps stimulate creativity through fun and exciting ways of creating sumo robots. Happy building and see you in the next competition.

References:

https://learn.robolink.com/course/rokit-smart/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot-sumo

https://www.instructables.com/RokitSmart-Sumo-Robot/

An Introduction to Robolink’s Skeletal Tracking AI App

Skeletal Tracking

Identifying human movements from still images or video sequences is really challenging due to different problems like partial occlusion, lighting, blurred appearance, background clutter, etc. Many applications are being introduced these days to learn AI through some apps like Google machine learning platform, no-code AI platform, on-premise AI platform or machine learning playground (ML Playground). Let’s take a look at Robolink’s newest App, the Skeletal Tracking AI App. How can it be used to play the popular Brick Breaker game?

Who is Robolink?

Robolink was established in 2012 in San Diego, California to encourage students to engage with STEM. They offer different courses and camps virtually. In addition, workshops are being introduced if you’re not sure which coding style works for you. You can learn AI with object detection, Teachable Snake or Snake Game, VEX IQ coding, Drone Piloting, etc. But one app is being added to their learning courses like Google’s teachable machine. Let’s take a close look!

What is Skeletal Tracking?

Skeletal Tracking AI analyzes a person’s pose in an image or video by identifying key points on a person’s face and body such as nose, eyes, ears, and joints like shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. 

How does it work?

Skeletal tracking works once AI identifies your key points. It will track your movements and determine your pose or gestures. See the sample image below where AI is tracking the nose, eyes, ears and shoulders. 

Skeletal tracking key points
Skeletal Tracking AI App tracking the nose, eyes, ears and shoulders using a webcam.

Applying Skeletal Tracking AI App with Brick Breaker

Brick Breaker is a game where a player must smash a wall of bricks by deflecting a bouncing ball with a paddle on the screen. Normally, arrow keys or touch screen controls are being used to move the paddle side to side of the screen, but Skeletal Tracking AI that you train to recognize your poses and gestures will be used instead in this project to control the paddle.

To get the best outcome of this project, you have to make sure that your poses or gestures can be identified easily from one another when you train your AI when moving the paddle left and right. Otherwise, it wouldn’t precisely follow your movements.

Pre-trained model

 Robolink has a sample model to give you a head start. See the images below:

Sample pose

Capturing Poses and Application

Your computer’s webcam will be used to capture the images of your poses to move the Brick Breaker paddle. Make sure that the place is well-lit so it will easily identify your pose. Step by step process is provided to guide you through. Training the AI would take only a few minutes. Once done, you may now play the game. You can adjust the speed on how fast you want the paddle to follow your movement.

Here’s a sample game using nose to control the paddle:

Skeletal Tracking game

We all know that Google’s teachable machine is now getting popular expanding to its 2.0 version as well with multiple teachable machine projects. Skeletal Tracking AI is also compatible with Teachable Machine. Brick Breaker is not an easy game to play with your movement but it’s fun to give it a try. As you play around with it, you’ll be able to figure out which key point would be the easiest to get a high score.

References:

https://www.robolink.com/skeletal-tracking/

https://shop.robolink.com/

https://d2l930y2yx77uc.cloudfront.net/production/uploads/images/24114526/picture_pc_d0bc5e53ab32af19c00ce7567106f011.png

Learn Drone Basics with Robolink’s CoDrone!

Flight Movement

Ever wonder why drones are popular these days? Drones are a wonder of modern technology that support industries such as film production, aerial photography and drone engineering not to mention that drones are also a favorite when it comes to STEM learning. Yes, you heard it right! In schools, a lot of drone kits are being used for learning as there are specific drone models that are programmable, these have become an increasingly critical element of a modern education.

Codable Drones

Codable drones are designed for educational purposes to help students improve skills while having fun at the same time. These drones will let students learn how to code, but more than that, they can learn skills in leadership, community involvement, communicating across different technology platforms, finding their passion and teamwork, which will position them for success well beyond their school years.

Start your drone journey with Robolink Codrone Pro programmable and educational drone kit. Robolink is a Robotics education company that aims to encourage students to engage with STEM. Their mission is to make STEM education accessible, engaging and fun! They offer lots of awesome kits and will teach you how to code drones.

What a great way to start is with their starter kit, CoDrone Lite. This is one of the codable drones they offer for STEM education.  This drone is a basic aerial drone suitable for ages 10 and up. Included in the kit is a CoDrone unit, a battery and charger, extra propellers, and a Bluetooth-capable pre-made circuit board. This will teach you basic programming skills on how to navigate and even give some tips and tricks on how to fly drones with style! Learn how to program your own custom flight patterns, programming remotes, how to navigate through obstacles, and more.

Another Robolink’s innovation that can get you more interested in drone programming is their latest drone, the CoDrone Mini! It uses radio frequency to connect the remote and drone, so the range and connection is stronger. Use code to make the CoDrone Mini zip around, flash colors, do flips, and even grab sensor readings.

Flight Movement

Throttle, Yaw, Pitch, Roll

Some of the great features is to experience the flight code of the drone – you can program your drone to do drone throttle, pitch, yaw and roll. Throttle controls the vertical up and down motion of the drone. Positive throttle will make the drone fly higher and negative throttle will make the drone fly lower. Yaw is the left and right rotation of the drone. Positive yaw will make the drone turn to the right and negative yaw will make the drone turn to the left. Pitch is the forward and backward tilt of the drone. A positive pitch will make the drone tilt and move forward and negative pitch will make the drone tilt and move backwards. Roll is the side to side tilt of the drone.  Positive roll will make the drone tilt to the right and negative roll will make the drone tilt to the left.

Throttle, Pitch, Yaw, Roll

CoDrone has a lot more to offer! You can play with it and do more tricks other than the basic flight movements. You can code it to do pattern flying, motion tracking, auto hovering, turtle turn, and so much more! Try it and figure out some cool movements that this tiny quadcopter can do.

These are just a few of the many awesome flight tricks you can do with your drone. Coding drones will not only make your kids learn the basic engineering and robotics skills, but this will also give them the opportunity to enjoy what they’re doing – this is a smart way to involve kids at their young age to boost their love for learning.

References:

https://shop.robolink.com/pages/codrone-pro-lite

https://learn.robolink.com/product/codrone-mini/

https://ozrobotics.com/shop/codrone-lite-for-audiences-who-want-a-simple-intro-to-programming/

https://engineering.purdue.edu/INSPIRE/Reviews/toys/codrone-lite

https://www.robolink.com/snap-lesson-3/

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