Ro­bots took over Blind River Li­brary Aug. 29

The Standard (Elliot Lake) - - BLIND RIVER - By KEVIN MCSHEFFREY, Of The Stan­dard

a week be­fore chil­dren re­turned to classes, young peo­ple from blind river, the north shore and el­liot lake took part in the ro­bots en route at the blind river li­brary.

The event, held on Wed­nes­day, aug. 29, had the sci­ence north blue­coats in­tro­duce the youths to learn­ing about cod­ing and ro­bot­ics.

mau­reen Caissie, a clerk at the blind river li­brary, said the sci­ence north blue­coats con­tacted the li­brary and asked if they would be in­ter­ested in host­ing the free work­shops for chil­dren ages seven to 12 years.

Two blue­coat sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tors Grace sch­midt and ash­ton hurst hosted three robotic work­shops for 25 chil­dren on aug. 29.

The blue­coats use the ez-ro­bot build­ing pro­gram to teach the young­sters about cod­ing and ro­bots.

The chil­dren first had to as­sem­ble their six-legged ro­bots, which looked a lit­tle like fid­dler crabs. They then had to con­nect the tablets that the blue­coats pro­vided them to pro­gram the ro­bots to fol­low their com­mands.

When the power was turned on, the ro­bots awak­ened as thought they had been asleep.

af­ter learn­ing how to pro­gram com­mands, the chil­dren had the ro­bots walk­ing, danc­ing and bump­ing into ob­jects on the li­brary floor and ex­plor­ing their sur­round­ings.

The chil­dren had a ro­bot’s eye view with the real-time video cam­era mounted on top of each one. The image is sent to their in­di­vid­ual tablet view screens.

The chil­dren’s ex­cite­ment was ev­i­dent on their faces as the ro­bots came to life and be­gan obey­ing their com­mands.

sch­midt said they have been cross­ing north­east­ern on­tario for seven weeks to in­tro­duce young peo­ple to such tech­nol­ogy.

she added that they do four or five work­shops per week.

sch­midt said they have 26 ro­bots pow­ered by recharge­able bat­ter­ies, which op­er­ate for about an hour on a charge.

While the ro­bots can­not speak, they are programmed with two songs that they sing.

she adds that some­times when she’s driv­ing and it is quite in the car, she says “i think i’m hear­ing the songs. i’m not, they’re all off in the box.”

kim breckon, of el­liot lake, at­tended the event at the blind river li­brary to give three of her four chil­dren an op­por­tu­nity to learn more about ro­bots.

she says her hus­band is a teacher at Villa Française des Je­unes in el­liot lake, and he teaches ro­bot­ics.

in ad­di­tion, her old­est son, Jean-mathieu dionne, is into ro­bots and has even gone to a com­pe­ti­tion in sud­bury.

Photo By KEVIN MCSHEFFREY/THE STAN­DARD

Court­ney Ver­hey watches her two chil­dren Ju­bilee and Emery pro­gram the ro­bots un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Sci­ence North Blue­coat com­mu­ni­ca­tor Grace Sch­midt at the Blind River Li­brary on Aug. 29.

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