(Photo courtesy of Latitude’s research: Robots @ School)
Thanks to Prof. Michael Horn I’ve spent the past four weeks learning all about what happens when robots meet people! From toy dinosaurs to ‘bots that are highly expressive and classified as “sociable” - it is incredible to see how people from a range of ages interact with such technology. By trying to re-create a human-esk interaction with a robot it really makes you reflect on what makes humans, well, inherently human.
By far the most helpful articles I’ve read so far has been a study by the folks at http://latd.com called Robots @ School (downloadable here: http://latd.tv/Latitude-Robots-at-School-Findings.pdf). By asking kids to describe a world in which robots were staples in their learning environment - they really dug into how kids perceive robotic interaction. So what did they find?
Kids blur the lines between learning and play with robots. They see them as sources of empowerment for higher academic achievement. They look to robots to help adults see past their spelling errors and sloppy handwriting to the crux of their ideas. For kids robots aren’t foreign pieces of scary technology, they’re friends with personalities and a desire to facilitate learning through play.
It’s always nice to get validation like this that lets you know your doing something right!
Yesterday we submitted our application to the Echoing Green Fellowship. I can’t help but reminisce back to all of the different competitions, fellowships, and grants that we’ve applied for with Jerry. What does it all add up to? Every time we’ve applied for something it forces us to articulate exactly what is is our business does. Each iteration has been better than the next, and more importantly has helped us to realize the full potential of our ideas. I can’t help but encourage everyone to apply.apply.apply to EVERYTHING! If for no other reason than to practice writing about what you do, it is insanely valuable.
There is also a hidden perk, a silver lining if you will, to writing these applications. 95% of the time they end up amounting to nothing. They get you used to failing early and often, a recurring theme in most of my life experiences. You can continually tweak what didn’t work so that when it really counts, you know that the description of what it is your business/product/idea does is engaging, compelling, and actually conveys what you want.
Wow. First official day of “work” in Providence! Today we had the realization of how awesome it is to live with two incredible mentors Alan and Bari Harlam. They have been so nice to let us stay with them for our time here, and so open to giving us tremendously helpful feedback and advice.
Just got back from drinks with Andy Cutler, who has given us the warmest welcome with goodie bags of great books, awesome magazines, cool tunes, and fantastic insight! We can only imagine when the rest of the week has in store, we’ll keep you posted.
Jerry labs is moving once again… The mobile lab unit is going on a road trip, with a brief stopover in New York and an ultimate destination of Providence RI! Fasten your seat belts and put your tray tables in their upright and locked positions cause were about to liftoff!