Augmented Automation

Workshop on Augmented Automation using Lego Mindstorms ®

Current young people and children are in contact with a technology that was unthinkable a few years ago. When they use a washing machine which calculates how much water it needs thanks to fuzzy logic or when they play with Sony's "EyePet" on the Playstation3 ®, they are using Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Electronics and Automatic Regulation. Understanding the underlying theory is not easy and requires the integration and understanding of many concepts.

The purpose of this workshop is to awaken the interest of children and young people in engineering and research by trying to answer questions that may arise when using technology.

Augmented Automation encompasses instrumentation (sensors, conditioning circuits, actuators, measuring with real and virtual instruments), automatic regulation (control loop), robotics, artificial intelligence, communications (technology and protocols) and augmented reality.

It uses Lego Mindstorms ®  kits, which over the last years has become the educational robotics platform most used worldwide. The Lego Group and the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at MIT have jointly designed a kit which conceives a child as a "builder of their own mental structures". The kit reproduces the environment where inventors and engineers work so that children and young people discover science and technology in an attractive way.

The combination of the construction toys with an intuitive, easy to programme software is ideal for the challenge the children have to face: build and programme  robots. At the same time, children acquire skills like working in a team to generate new ideas, and solving problems by testing and evaluating the solution. With the workshop, children and young people can:

•    Create with ICT, not juts use ICT.
•    Understand better by programming.
•    Learn about real and virtual instrumentation, control loop, robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
•    Gain an insight into mathematical and physical concepts by means  of experiments in virtual and real world.
•    Increase their creativity and teamwork.

The workshop is also used to train teachers and to incorporate the Lego Mindstorms ® kit into schools curricula.

Own Project: eXIT

IIiA Coordinator: Bianca Innocenti