NextGen Education
& Research Robotics
On Demand


10:30AM ET
KEYNOTE: Robotics and STEM Learning: Investing in our Future

Presented by: Paul Copioli, VEX Robotics, Inc.  

The need to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs to broaden the base of problem-solvers for the future has been realized a the next problem is implementing educational programs that are successful at preparing the leaders of the future.

The VEX Robotics Design System has been the apparatus of choice for classroom programs because of its affordability, accessibility and scalability. From remedial math education to being the system of choice for a comprehensive, project-based engineering curriculum educators around the world continue to prove that VEX is key to their STEM education programs successes.

Success of current and future STEM education programs will depend on collaboration between equipment suppliers, such as VEX, and educators around the world. VEX Robotics is continually seeking education partners, big and small, to figure out how robotics could play a part in their STEM efforts.


11:30 AM ET
Robotics Engineering: The Next Hot Major

Presented by: Michael Gennert, Worcester Polytechnic Institute  

As scientific and technical knowledge evolves, it sometime happens that a new engineering field develops based on novel technologies, paradigms, or combinations of existing technologies. We are now witnessing the emergence of robotics, as the decreasing cost and increasing availability of sensors, computing devices, and actuators opens opportunities for new devices that are limited only by our imagination.

Engineers currently working in the robotics industry are mostly trained in Computer Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering. However, robotics is inherently multidisciplinary; no single discipline provides the full breadth demanded as new applications become more sophisticated. To educate a new generation of robotics engineers, Worcester Polytechnic Institute introduced a BS degree in Robotics Engineering.

In this talk, I will provide a look at the present and future of Robotics Engineering education, including neded skills, job prospects, curricula, capstone projects, showing videos and slides of our robots in action.


12:00PM ET
Session: Considerations for Designing an Industrial Robotic Training Facility

Presented by: Kurt Thern, Fox Valley Technical College   Karen Long, ABB Robotics  

The presentation will cover considerations for designing an industrial training facility for both college degree candidates and workforce development. Also covered will be trends ABB Robotics and Fox Valley Technical Collage are seeing for industrial training purposes and perspectives for the future of industrial robotic training in North America.


1:00PM ET
KEYNOTE: Using Robotics to teach engineering in the K-12 classroom

Presented by: Chris Rogers, Tufts University  

Over the last 15 years, Tufts has become one of the players in the new field of engineering education research though its Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO - The CEEO involves professors from many of the engineering disciplines as well as from Arts and Sciences, a lot of students, and companies from LEGO to Google (and even Pixar at one point), all aimed at teaching engineering to everyone - from kindergartners to college students. We work with LEGO on the development of their LEGO Mindstorms product line (, with National Instruments on their LabVIEW for High School product, and with Klutz books and others on teaching with stop action movies ( In this talk, I will give an overview of some of the research that happens at the Center and show the results of LEGO engineering from students on almost every continent.


2:00PM ET
Session: Open Platforms for Education & Research Robotics

Presented by: Lloyd Spencer, CoroWare   Dan Kara, Electra Studios  

To reduce the risk of vendor lock-in, forestall technological obsolescence and provide for the greatest range of applicability, companies purchasing robotics technology for commercial use almost exclusively opt for systems based on open platforms. These same open platform benefits are accorded to educational and research robotics products, and are in fact magnified due to tighter budgets in academia. But what constitutes an “open platform” is debatable, and can include technology incorporating de facto and de jure standards, as well as systems based on open source solutions. This session will discuss the common classes of robotics open platforms, as well as specific open platforms technology – both winners and losers - available in educational and research robotics products today.


3:00PM ET
Virtual Fireside Chat: DARwIn-OP and Robots for Education and Research

Presented by: Dr. Dennis Hong, Virginia Tech  

DARwIn-OP (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence - Open Platform) is an affordable, miniature-humanoid-robot platform with advance computational power, sophisticated sensors, high payload capacity, and dynamic motion ability to enable many exciting research, education, and outreach activities. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States, DARwIn-OP has been developed by RoMeLa at Virginia Tech with collaboration with University of Pennsylvania, Purdue University and Robotis Co., based on the award winning DARwIn series humanoid robots in development since 2004. DARwIn-OP is a true open platform where users are encouraged to modify it in both hardware and software, and various software implementations are possible (C++, Python, LabVIEW, MATLAB, etc.) The open source hardware is not only user serviceable thanks to its modular design, but also can be fabricated by the user. Publically open CAD files for all of its parts, and instructions manuals for fabrication and assembly are available on-line for free. A number of DARwIn-OP units will be distributed to 11 partner universities (including major research universities, RUI institutions, a women's college, and two local high schools) and will utilize them in their classroom teaching and projects as well as outreach activities. The robot will also be available for the general public for purchase, or you can build you own based on the open source instructions and information freely available on-line.

At this fireside chat, Dr. Dennis Hong will answer any questions or engage in discussions regarding the DARwIn-OP and about robots for education and research in general.


4:00PM ET
KEYNOTE: Robots in Education - Bridging the Gap

Presented by: Hanno Sander, HannoWare  

The phrase "students learn by doing" is especially true in today's world. Bringing robots into the classroom lets kids "do" science, technology, engineering, math- and much more. Besides learning mathematical and computational ideas, students also learn to work together, think creatively and solve problems. Robots engage kids by providing real world interaction that they can control, create and customize. Robots bridge the gap between hands-on activities and abstract concepts typically found in technical curricula. Today's wide range and low cost of sensors, actuators and microcontrollers coupled with easy to learn visual programming languages enable students to explore advanced concepts. This talk will focus on how robots are being used in New Zealand education to stimulate innovation and develop tomorrow's workforce.


11:00AM ET
Hands-on Learning: Platforms to Teach Programming

Presented by: Eric Gregori, Freescale Semiconductor  

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Confucius. People of all ages benefit from using interesting tools to teach complex concepts. This presentation covers the tools Freescale uses for hands-on training on complex topics, such as sensor programming, Computer Vision, Android programming, and microcontrollers.

The low-cost Freescale Robot ( FreeBot ) is a 4 Degrees Of Freedom walking robot with touch sensors, and a 3-axis accelerometer. The robot is a sensor programming training assistant, used in hands-on classes around the world. The robot is upgradeable with a low-cost embedded Linux computer converting it into a Linux/Android programming and Computer Vision training platform.

The Freescale i.MX53 Quick Start Board is a inexpensive yet powerful embedded Linux computer. Packing a whopping 1GHz ARM® Cortex™-A8 processor with 1GB of RAM into a 3-inch by 3-inch package. The i.MX53 is used for Linux and Android programming training.