On Monday, September 12, Ms. Murphy's Norton High School Robotics class attended a virtual field trip with iRobot. They visited the museum with the help of video conferencing, and their Ava Robot, which the tour guide, Lisa Freed, maneuvered around their museum using a tablet with controls.
This field trip was part of a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit about robots and their sensors, and how robots impact society. PBL includes an authentic application of what students are learning. At the beginning, students see robots in a real context. Then they learn about robots, how they move, and what their sensors do. Next, they program them in basic and real world applications. At the end of the unit, they design their own robots that will affect people and solve a problem.
"We loved the tour. We saw so many interesting prototypes and learned what it takes to plan and create a successful robot," said Ms. Murphy. "We did not know that iRobot started by developing toys, such as dolls and dinosaurs! We saw robots the military and police used and learned how iRobot helped in Japan with the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. Of course we then got to see Roomba, their vacuum robot, in action in their mock smart home. With the help of AI and an application, you can choose what you want the vacuum to do and see where it has cleaned. We appreciate iRobot's help in learning how robots help people around the world."