The public availability of the Hummingbird Kit through BirdBrain technologies is a big step towards increasing the impact of Arts & Bots and promoting the use of robotics as tools for creative expression and exploration. We look forward to continuing to work with our wonderful partners and meeting even more educators interested in particpating in our ongoing research activities.
Since the release, Arts & Bots has been discussed by a number of news organizations, magazines and prominent blogs. We've included information on a few articles below.
Thanks to all of the educators and community partners who made this project so successful!
“It's never too early to get kids into robot building -- or so goes the thought process behind this nectar-loving kit. At its center is a custom controller that can be used to manipulate a slew of different sensors, motors and lights, a number of which are included in the box.”
On WESA 90.5 (Pittsburgh's NPR News Station):
“Teachers in any classroom can infuse robotics into commonplace arts and crafts materials to make sculptures that move, talk, and even sense objects — for example, a green cardboard dragon that chomps at any hand that gets too close, or a replica of the Star Wars robot R2D2 that slides and chirps just like its namesake. It’s meant to inject creativity into the sometimes dry process of programming robots, according to Hummingbird co-creator and Carnegie Mellon University robotics professor Illah Nourbakhsh.”
On Fast Company:
“Most educational robotics kits focus on building robots, but Hummingbird treats robotics as one element combined with craft materials and text to communicate thoughts, feelings, or ideas. […] Teachers whose students have experimented with the kit say it fosters interest in technology among students ages 11 and up.”
“Hummingbird differs from robotic kits available at toy stores where the focus is on building a specific robot; rather it comes with a control board along with lights, sensors, and motors that you use to roboticize your art project. This incorporation step is thought to make robotics more meaningful and useful to the user.”
On IEEE Spectrum:
“Now, although this is called a "kit," it's not like there's instructions that tell you what to build. It's the best kind of robot kit: the kind where you use your imagination and some creativity to build a robot of your very own. You might need some additional structural components (like cardboard), but beyond that, all it takes is a good idea to make whatever you want, which (in essence) iswhat's so great about robots in general. ”
"An educational robotics kit developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute is fostering an interest in technology that goes a step beyond simply putting supplied parts together."
“The Hummingbird offering from BirdBrain Technologies costs $200 and uses a drag-and-drop user interface that requires no programming experience on the part of the user. The kit (which includes components such as a controller, power supply, cables and senors) can convert artwork made from paper and cardboard into creations that move or display lights based on sensors. More elaborate creations have included a working replica of Star Wars' R2D2.”
"Children generally love to create art and are fascinated by robots, so what if there was a way for them to turn their art projects into robots? Well, there is. [...]Unlike some other educational robotics kits, in which people simply follow instructions to build a specific robot, Hummingbird is intended to foster a DIY spirit in its users."
"It's amazing to think about students becoming this familiar with the functions of and potential for technology. Students can learn how electronics can sense what's happening in the environment and react to it, and as the kit is tied in to crafts and imagination, who knows what creative and helpful ideas will come out of classroom projects. The Hummingbird kit seems like an amazing tool for teaching our next generation of scientists, and inspiring creative uses for what technology is available. It'd be great to see a school host a science faire themed on technology helping the environment, using Hummingbird kits!"
"Hummingbird is an educational kit that allows children or adults to turn their lovely arts or crafts into a functional robot within hours. This excellent stuff was developed byBirdBrain Technologies, a spinoff company of Carnegie Mellon University. The goal of this invention is to make the children to develop technologies rather than using it."
Original CMU Press Release:
"The results often amount to kinetic sculptures that use sensors to detect changes in their environment and respond with movement and/or light displays. A cardboard dragon that turns its head and tries to bite anyone who comes close is one example. Students in West Virginia built a working replica of Star Wars' R2D2."