STEM Education Gets Boost from RobotsLAB
Drones, 3D printing and rovers for the classroom combined
Robots in a Box
RobotsLAB’s STEM-U is a standards-aligned curricula that uses drones, rovers and other robots manufactured both by itself and other robotic companies as teaching tools. “We want to cover every subject under STEM using robots,” Inbar said. “Our goal is to make STEM teaching fun and engaging for teachers and students.”
Another product of STEM-U is the RobotsLAB Box, which was the winner of the Game Changer Award for Education at RoboBusiness 2013. RobotsLAB Box uses robots to demonstrate abstract concepts in geometry, algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus and physics to secondary school students.
“We have already shipped 300 kits to schools and have 50-60 more orders in assembly. By the end of the year, we hope to have 4,000-5,000 orders,” said Inbar, adding that the kit is also being sold in Brazil, Israel and Mexico.
Each RobotsLAB Box contains four robots, including:
- A quadcopter
- A robotic arm
- A mobile robot
- A robotic ball
The kit, designed to demonstrate abstract concepts like slope, sine, cosine and vectors to students, includes a tablet that allows the teacher to control the robots and run exercises and lessons from the palm of their hand, even if they have no prior experience in robotics or computer science. The standard BOX has a price of $3,500.
The lesson plans are strictly aligned with mandated Common Core, TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) standards for middle and high school and were designed by teachers, said Inbar.
“We are attracting interest from hundreds of schools across the country,” Inbar said. “Our target market is every high school and middle school teacher.”
Inbar is particularly proud that all of the kit manufacturing is being done by Roseville, Calif.-based Pride Industries, one of the nation’s largest non-profit employers of people with disabilities.
“They employ a lot of wounded war veterans. These are people that are totally capable of working, but no one wants to employ them,” said Inbar. “I’m really proud that they are doing everything from programming and building the robots to shipping them to customers.”
Also available through STEM-U is the NAO Olympics program, which uses the NAO H25 humanoid robot from France’s Aldebaran Robotics.
“With this, we use robots playing basketball to teach trajectory,” said Inbar. “With soccer, we can explain triangulation. And angles can be taught through air hockey.”
RobotsLAB currently has 20 employees, seven of which are full time. Inbar is also founder and CEO of Robot App Store.
“Everything under the RobotsLAB label is available through the Robot App Store,” Inbar said. “We hope to open something under the RobotsLAB brand later this year to allow parents to directly download apps.”