Science Alive! is coming to Geelong!

Science Alive! is a celebration of all things science and is making its way to Geelong for the first time on the 25th-26th of May! The Brainary will be attending with our robot friends and we can’t wait to share them with everyone on the day. We are so excited to be apart of Science Alive! that we decided to get the inside scoop from organiser Brian Haddy about the event and his own passion for science and the future of STEM!

Why have you chosen to run Science Alive! in Geelong this year?

The company building Australia’s next generation submarines, the Naval Group, provided some seed funding to run a Science Alive! event in Victoria (I have been running them in South Australia for 13 years on behalf of the Adelaide Showground). Brighter, promoting natural gas, also came on board together with local sponsors Viva Energy and Deakin University and the national Defence Science and Technology organization. The Melbourne event calendar is fairly crowded so when looking at possible options of regional Victorian cities we chose Geelong due to the Council’s vision of a ‘Clever and Creative Future’ which we thought went well with a hands-on science event.

What is your background and how did you get involved with Science Alive!?

Although I have formal qualifications in Economics and Population Health my real love is in managing large scale community events. I proposed the idea of a large hands-on science event to the National Science Week Committee in Adelaide back in 2006 and since that time Science Alive! has grown to the extent that it now attracts 30,000 visitors in Science Week and has satellite events in outer suburban and regional South Australia at other times during each year.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?

The Geelong event has some very unique features never before seen at a Science Alive! event. The Army Drone Racing Team is expected to be a huge hit together with the Virtual Reality experiences offered by a number of organizations including OzGrav that will offer an amazing journey through our universe. Dr Who fans will also be delighted that several Daleks will be at the event and of course the NAO humanoid robots on The Brainary stand will be hugely popular. 

What do you think the future holds for our students?

Many of the jobs of the future are yet to be created or even visualized – but it is certain that most will require a higher degree of scientific competency than the less skilled jobs they will replace. So those students who study science at school will be well placed to take advantage of emerging employment opportunities.

Who is your favourite scientist and why?

Rob Morrison and Deane Hutton from the Curiosity Show are my favourites due to their ability to explain complex scientific concepts to those without a formal science background such as myself. And guess what? They will be at Science Alive! Geelong, presenting their Illusions Show on both of the event’s public days – 25th & 26th May.

You can purchase tickets and find more information on the Science Alive! website.

Contact The Brainary for more information on this great STEM event.

Inspiring students into STEM with EZ-Robot!

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Schools across Australia are embracing STEM as a core part of their curriculum by coming up with interesting ways to engage their students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Carol Cartwright is a Technology teacher at the Knox School, Wantirna South, who is using EZ-Robot to facilitate STEM learning and Design Thinking. We spoke with Carol to learn about how STEM encourages her students to think outside the box and build confidence whilst learning.

What is your EZ-Robot project?

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We are currently trialing a new course with our Year 7 & 8 students whereby the Technology, Art and Design program is focused on Design Thinking. Students in Year 7 will be rotated through the four facets of Robotics, Art, VCD and Media Arts. Students will experience one topic per term with sustainability being the core theme for each area.

In Year 8, students are still rotated throughout the four areas of Technology and Design, but this takes place in one semester. The second semester provides students with the opportunity to apply the skills they have gained in independent inquiry-based projects they elect themselves based on sustainability. Students may choose within their projects to integrate all four areas together or focus on just one.

Which students are working with the EZ-Robots?

The EZ-Robots are currently being used with the Year 8 students. Students have enjoyed interacting with JD and exploring the various auto position actions with the program. Blockly was an easy progression from Scratch for the students to program their robots. Very quickly, students were able to activate voice commands, use JD's camera for facial recognition and program the robots to speak.

The robots have provided stimulus for communication and collaborative work within the classroom. Students who had never had the confidence to program before empowered and actively engaged, trying to get JD to do pushups and the YMCA dance.

What does STEM mean to you?

STEM to me is a means for engaging students to think and a key focus for our school. Our use of Design Thinking is to make our students more independent learners and thinkers. We believe we need to empower students with the ability to problem solve, build resilience and identify problems to solve. These skills are critical for the young people of today to prepare them for their futures. STEM, Design and robotics provide students with opportunities to equip themselves with these skills. Robotics make learning fun!

What are your goals?

My goal is to foster within students the love of learning, to not be afraid of challenges, to take risks and to think for themselves.

Feeling inspired?

We run workshops to show you how easily EZ-Robot can become part of your STEM program. For more information, see here.

Want to test NAO’s programming? Webots is now Free for NAO robots!

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Webots - the open-source robot simulator

Webots is an open-source robot simulator and is widely used in industry, education and research. Recently, after more than 20 years of proprietary licensing, Webots has become a free open source software released under the terms of the Apache 2.0 license!

What is Webots for NAO?

•Webots for NAO allows you to launch a simulated NAO in a virtual world.

•It offers a safe place to test behaviours before playing them on a real robot.

•Webots for NAO is a specific release of Webots 7, exclusively dedicated to the use of a simulated NAO.

•It offers predefined NAO simulations with their ready-to-use controllers.

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How to access Webots for your NAO

The Apache 2.0 license is available directly from the Webots website and detailed instructions on how to set-up your NAO with Webots is available here.

Webots is Now Open Source! 

Further information

Find out more about NAO

Phone: (03) 5229 2260

Hugh and Emma Creating a Better Future in Education with MiRo-E!

Forging brilliant tools for a brighter future!

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Last week in chilly London Hugh and Emma visited MiRo-E at BETT 2019, Europe’s largest education technology show. The focus was on how the advances in technology can be harnessed effectively in education along with a partnership approach between educators and innovators. All to ensure they worked together to forge brilliant tools for a brighter future for all children.

Technology is an enabler and an enhancer

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As part of the global community for educators the advanced AI robot MiRo-E was launched to assist students learn coding and reach their future potential.

There is a lot of emphasis today on teaching children to program - some are even calling it the new Latin, except that coding is probably a bit more useful. Coding is all very well, but without something physical to apply it to, it can remain a little abstract. Once children have learned the basics of coding they can produce programs to control a robot - these programs can be thought of as new behaviours or skills for the robot.”

Sebastian Conran, Co-founder of Consequential Robotics, MiRo-E.

Education technology trends at BETT 2019

The world is becoming digital, and the role of teachers in preparing their students for a life of rapid change has never been more complex or important. With new technologies impacting our lives, young people need to enter the workforce with the skills to be a lifelong learner.

Highlights and innovative trends at BETT 2019 included:

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  • More virtual and augmented reality experiences where teachers can create their own content.

  • New in-built augmented reality and 3D software.

  • STEM technologies for teachers to write code, create in 3D, build sensors and experience a mixed reality.

  • How Artificial Intelligence in education uses conversational interfaces, nudge tech (timely personalised interaction) and digital assessment in the classroom.

Overall it was a fantastic experience and The Brainary will continue to enable all educators and learners to thrive with innovative technologies.

For MiRo-E workshops visit

For more information visit 

For orders please contact us 

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MiRo-E The ideal coding companion for your classroom!

MiRo-E's emotionally engaging friendly pet-like appearance stands out from other educational robots!

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MiRo-E is an advanced AI robot adapted for education with robust hardware and a specialised programming interface to facilitate coding. MiRo-E is an emotionally engaging biomimetic robot companion optimised for use in learning coding, education, research and therapy. A highly featured platform with the versatility to aid students in learning the basics of programming all the way through to advanced users producing practical applications.

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MiRo-E has been reengineered for STEM education in the classroom, incorporating a Raspberry Pi 3B+. It is user serviceable and includes the new simple browser-based programming system called the MIRo Educational Interface {MEI}.

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Why is MiRo-E right for the classroom?

MiRo-E has been designed for any classroom, including SEN and student emotional care. It can be used from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 5, and in various subjects to provide a multi-level learning experience. Example modules help guide educators to develop learning materials and encourage team working.

With eleven degrees of freedom, a wide array of over 30 sensors and Wifi/Bluetooth connectivity, MiRo-E provides unparalleled interaction with people and its environment. The user-friendly interface gives students a unique workspace to follow a curriculum, or to develop their own code using a mix of established text and block-based programming languages. Code can be developed and tested on a simulated MiRo, and then run on the physical robot. This means that a whole class of students can develop their own behaviours with just a few MiRo-E robots.

MiRo-E’s emotionally engaging friendly pet-like appearance stands out from other educational robots, and immediately stimulates student’s imaginations. They learn how to code by implementing their creative ideas through MiRo-E’s highly featured platform.

MiRo-E can also be used in the study of animal behaviour, or of companion robotics, as well as in STEM education.

The coding possibilities are endless!

For MiRo-E workshops visit

For more information visit

For orders please contact us

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Everybody Dance NAO Competition… 2018 Melbourne Winners!

Students team up to program NAO to dance!

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Our favourite Everybody Dance NAO Competition was held at Bialik College on Sunday. It was presented by The Brainary in another successful partnership with Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria (DLTV).

The robotic programming contest is designed to give students access to the latest robotics software and technology. Students learn the coding language behind the advanced humanoid robot NAO, and then join other students as they code NAO to dance. Final dances are 30-45 seconds long and include expert guidance from The Brainary’s robotics specialists. Students also had access to an Introductory NAO robot coding webinar recording and the complimentary Choregraphe software.

Overall there were 11 finalists, comprising of six secondary schools and three primary schools (one enthusiastic school had three entries):

  • Bialik College

  • Genazzano FCJ College

  • Mac.Robertson Girls' High School

  • Cowes Primary School

  • Academy of Mary Immaculate

  • Werribee Secondary School

  • Kilvington Grammar School

  • Hallam Primary School

Each team had two hours to perfect their coding prior to the Dance Off due to the large number of NAO robots available on the day... a real bonus. The event ran smoothly, even when a couple of NAO robots had a bit of stage fright and wouldn’t cooperate!

And the Winners are…

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Genazzano FCJ College won the Secondary division with GenTech. They skilfully programmed their NAO robot to dance a tribute to Freddie Mercury. NAO even got into the groove with a few signature Freddie Mercury additions: black moustache, white bonds t-shirt and a black armband!

While the two-time reigning champs Bialik College won the Primary division with Dance Boss, an imaginatively choreographed and superbly programmed dance routine.

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The judges, Jordan from The Brainary, and Cameron and Nathan from DLTV, commented that:

the standard produced from the primary schools this year was on par with the secondary schools, so well done to those teams.

The winners were awarded a Micro:bit each. The Micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that you can code, customise and control to bring your digital ideas, games and apps to life!


MiRo also made a guest appearance and wanted to join in on the coding fun!

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The Brainary would like to warmly thank DLTV for all their support and assistance and all the students, teachers and parents involved for making the coding competition such an amazing event!

Jordan in New Zealand introducing the new MiRo-E robot for schools and libraries!

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MiRo-E and Jordan impressed crowds when they joined educators at uLearn to connect, collaborate, and innovate.

MiRo-E was the star attraction and such a big hit he had to be taught not to wander off! To keep MiRo-E active Jordan took him for walks around the conference where he received many pats and cuddles from educators interested in MiRo-E’s coding and educational programming interface.

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While there our robotics specialist, Jordan, ran the successful breakout session…

Meet MiRo: An animal-like companion robot with a biomimetic brain-based control system

The session included learning to command MiRo to move, wag its tail, move its ears, speak and interact, all with simple drag and drop programming blocks on the computer. Educators began by programming a virtual MiRo then watched the real one come to life.

MiRo, a robotic animal you can love and love you back, will enhance educational outcomes by engaging students and teachers of all ages in a new and unique way you will not forget. MiRo can also assist students with special needs.

For information on how MiRo can benefit your school’s STEM program please contact us.

To find out more about MiRo.

Sam and Izzy in Singapore Introducing the New MiRo-E Robot for Schools and Libraries!

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Robotic technology is changing the way we live, work and learn … and this is having a profound impact on how we teach, where we teach and what we teach.

To help educators with this transition Sam and Izzy showcased MiRo the social robot dog to an enthusiastic crowd of educators. Educational, social and therapy robots like MiRo are inspiring students to learn and develop the necessary coding skills for the 21st century. MiRo-E is now proving to be an invaluable asset to the latest educational technology solutions and makerspaces in schools and libraries.

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MiRo-E features:

MiRo-E is an emotionally engaging biomimetic robot companion optimised for use in learning computing, research and therapy. A highly featured platform with the versatility to aid students in learning STEM and STE(A)M from the basics of programming all the way through to advanced users, producing practical applications. MiRo-E has been evolved for educational needs.

Read more about MiRo the social robot dog.

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Want to a Create a Makerspace and STEM hub in your School and Library?

Introducing ... STEM and Makerspace Solution Packages with Training Services

The Brainary now offers a one-stop-shop for all your Educational STEM and Makerspace needs.

We assist you from planning to implementation with STEM packages, including resources like robots, drones, 3D printers, software, electronics and much more.

The Brainary will:

·         Consult and customise packages to suit your needs and budget

·         Supply all technologies and resources

·         Provide set up, training and after sales service

 

Please contact us to find how The Brainary can assist:

Phone: (03) 5229 2260

Make an enquiry today.

Robots take over the catwalk in Wagga Wagga!

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RoboDay at Wagga Wagga City Library!

As part of the 2018 Riverina Science Festival, August 11-19, the Wagga Wagga City Library hosted RoboDay - an innovative event that exposes children and their families to all sorts of robotics and technology. It was a great opportunity for everyone involved to interact with digital technologies and attend coding workshops. 

Our technology experts ran several presentations, coding workshops and a robot petting zoo with children, parents and grandparents all joining in. Everyone found NAO humanoid robot, MiRo the social robot dog, Sphero and the EZ-Robots highly entertaining, with part of the robotics presentation also including a discourse on humanoid robots and their ability to do humanlike actions.

Afterwards workshop participants got to programme NAO to tell jokes, do the Dab and have a conversation. Some participants were then keen to continue working with virtual NAO at home using their 90-day free trial of choregraphe.

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While in the petting zoo children were able to experience MiRo, NAO, the EZ-Robots and Sphero by picking the robots up, patting and examining them using their senses and imaginations. Many children found it difficult to put the robots back after being introduced to these wonderful technologies! 

Last but not least The Brainary’s robots - MiRo, NAO and EZ Robot Revolution Hexapod – even got to strut their stuff on the catwalk to a captive audience!

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Photos by Jeremy Kruckel

We would like to warmly thank all participants and the Wagga Wagg City Library for inviting The Brainary to present our robots at the Riverina Science Festival. 

For anyone requiring information on how they can collaborate with The Brainary for similar events please contact us on (03) 5229 2260 or info@thebrainary.com.

Celebrating Friendship between Humans and Robots!

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The Human Robot Friendship Ball 2018

Last week The Brainary joined in on Sydney’s Vivid Ideas festivities at the innovative Human Robot Friendship Ball. At The Connection Rhodes Learning Space, man and machine mingled together allowing participants to interact with a variety of robots as well as meet the people who build, operate and care for them. Various businesses, high schools, local community groups and tertiary institutions presented their robots to an enthusiastic audience. Age was no limit for the 100 plus participants as young and old immersed themselves in the diverse range of hands-on activities, including a human friendship booth and an epic human robot dance off. The dancing highlights included our NAO humanoid robot and Ruby from The Connection, Rhodes boogying to a DJ blasting a mix of new and old tunes.

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As well as NAO we showcased Zora, the pre-programmed caregiver software for NAO robot and introduced MiRo, our cute-as-a-button social robot dog, to a captive audience.

As the standout crowd favourite, MiRo spent most of the evening playing on the floor with the children, and receiving lots of pats and hugs, while NAO’s Zora software entertained children waiting for a pat with demonstrations on how to be programmed to do the dab and to deliver an array of classic robot jokes such as:

 

“Why was the robot angry?”

“Because someone kept pushing his buttons!”

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The Human Robot Friendship Ball was a huge success and we would like to thank The Connection, Rhodes and City of Canada Bay Libraries for organising the Ball and inviting The Brainary to contribute to such a wonderful event.