Consumer Robotics are about to STEAM up in 2013 – News from 2013 CES
By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Analyst & Trend-Spotter, New York, New York, USA
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
LEGO Mindstorms EV3 launched their third evolution of Mindstorm products at the International 2013 CES (Consumer Electronics Show). They are celebrating the 15th anniversary of their initial Mindstorms launch, back in 1998. Thousands of kids have been inspired to build robots, scorpions and other creatures and devices through this robotic mash-up of LEGO intelligent bricks, basic bricks, sensors and servo motors. Attendees at the Spielwarenmesse International ToyFair 2013 can see these newest evolution products at the LEGO stand, Hall 12.
Dean Kamen took his passion for teaching kids about these robotic skills and launched FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). He partnered with LEGO to create FIRST LEGO Leagues. These leagues manage competitions and robotic challenges for teams of kids, aged 10 and up, to compete nationwide, with other kids, using their LEGO Mindstorm and other robotic toolkits. Teams of volunteers work with these young scientists to provide hands-on experiences and training, using robotic solutions.
STEM training expands and gains STEAM. The founding member of the Black-Eyed Peas, Will.i.am, has parlayed his talent as an entrepreneur and multi-Grammy Award winning musician and entertainment celebrity into a new gig with the Tech industry to promote technology for all. He attended the International 2013 CES as Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation. He works with Dean Kamen as a volunteer for FIRST, and he is taking the STEM challenge one step further.
Will.i.am’s focus is on adding the A in STEM, to build STEAM. His mission is to encourage kids to discipline themselves to learn a skill. He wants to incorporate the arts in STEM, so it represents teaching about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math= STEAM. He believes the Arts are just as important for a child’s development.
“I am trying to create teams of STEAM in America. You have to work as a team to make an iPhone or an i.am+ product. It’s steam that you release when you are heated up, and creating wonderfulness. “
He backs his words with consulting and volunteering with key STEM supporting organizations. Will.i.am is a consultant for NASA as a STEM advocate and volunteer, and as a role-model, he aims to empower youth by inspiring them about the wonders of space exploration and technology. He partnered with NASA to write the first song ever to be debuted on another planet. “Reach for the Stars: Mars Edition” was literally launched as the NASA Curiosity Rover landed on the Red Planet Mars, on August 29, 2012, and was beamed back to earth. The social media picked it up, and kids were inspired to watch the landing. Now that is rocket science that can inspire a new generation to tune in.
The whole idea behind focusing on the STEM subjects, is to create excitement and innovation in the training and curriculum developed to teach kids about these core subjects. If the curriculum can include opportunities for hands-on learning, with experiments in the classroom, more kids would grasp the concepts more readily and retain the learning. By introducing STEM challenges, in modules like rocketry, flight simulations, and robotic-building projects, kids work together in teams to build science with their hands, measure concepts like wind-speed, projected outcomes and other cause and effect scenarios. This makes the learning more relevant, and deepens the connections, with relevant, real-life objects, and practical examples.
Go to this link to learn more about the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 launch in 2nd half 2013: