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.

NAO’s Role in Workplace Inclusion for People on the Autism Spectrum

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The Dandelion Program

DXC is a global IT company continually looking to identify and employ talented people. Early on they realised many talented individuals, especially those on the Autism Spectrum, struggled to get through their mainstream recruitment processes. To rectify this, they developed the Dandelion Program, which allows candidates on the Autism Spectrum to showcase their skills and strengths by programming a NAO robot from The Brainary.

Happy to advise that over the last four years, we have employed some very talented people who continue to be employed by DXC.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

The Dandelion Program is a sustainable three-year program, which focusses on building the careers and skills of people on the Autism Spectrum into the following IT roles: software testing, data analytics and cyber security. The program consists of two streams – internships and employment – with Dandelion teams in four states across Australia, employing nearly 60 people who are on the Autism Spectrum.

The Dandelion Program is not just about recruiting people with autism. Their aim is to build careers for people on the spectrum and to join with other institutions to address the high rate of unemployment in the autistic community.

The Internship program provides valuable paid IT work experience to students/graduates on the spectrum – they work on a real IT robotics project, using modern software development techniques.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

Dandelion Work Experience Program with UniSA students in Adelaide

NAO – The Ideal Robotics Platform

The Dandelion Program designers chose the NAO robot from The Brainary because of its flexible programming levels. The Choregraphe software is ideal as an introductory level then, as the candidates advance in skill, they move on to Python SDK, where candidates get to program in a real programming language.

It is difficult to find another product that has these attributes. This assists us in being able set tasks for our candidates that suits their current skill level and also to provide some growth in their learning and test their potential.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

NAO also has many advanced features, such as speech and facial recognition, that help produce a more human-like robot to engage an audience. When candidates see NAO for the first time they become mesmerised and are quite excited to use it.

The fact that it has many advanced features also provides us with the ability to add quite a lot of depth to our projects, so we can really push the boundaries of our candidates’ ability.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator
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When NAO is programmed the robot is placed in a school that has children on the Autism Spectrum.

The children immediately engage with the robot. NAO assists the students with various learning exercises – academic subjects, relaxation activities/techniques, games, storytelling and helping them understand their emotions.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

The Dandelion Program – Future Opportunities

There are some extremely talented people on the autism spectrum, who cannot get through the normal recruitment process. If you create the right environment and provide the right support, people will thrive.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

The Dandelion team continually look for opportunities to not only grow their program but to also introduce ideas and innovation. Over the last few years, they have established critical partnerships that will propel the Dandelion Program into the forefront of workplace inclusion. Given the success of the programs, some of these clients are requesting additional teams, plus DXC are partnering with new clients to implement Dandelion teams into their organisations. 

Internships in 2018:

Brisbane, June 2018, followed by Canberra and then Melbourne.

For anyone who is interested in registering or wish to find out more about the program, please contact:

Email: dandelionprogram@dxc.com

Website: http://www.dxc.technology/au/ahp/142235-the_dandelion_program

 

The Dandelion Program Research Partnerships:

  • Cornell University
  • Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, La Trobe University
  • University of Haifa
  • Ono Academic College

Established Neurodiversity Hubs – DXC with Cornell University, developed and implemented a framework for the creation of a pipeline of neurodiverse talent. This is to be extended to all states and territories but has currently been started at:

  • Swinburne University, Melbourne
  • Univer sity of  Queensland, Brisbane

Formed Partnerships with:

  • Uptimize – leading provider of digital neurodiversity training tools
  • Pymetrics – artificial intelligence-based assessment tools
  • University of Haifa - assessment selection and work performance management tools based on those used in the highly successful Israeli Defence Forces autism program

Congratulations to the 2018 Adelaide ‘Everybody Dance NAO’ Winners!

Last weekend our popular robot dancing contest was hosted in partnership with the superb Adelaide City Library. We had four enthusiastic schools with ten teams between them. The participating schools were: Parafields R-7 School, St Michaels Lutheran Primary School, St John’s Grammar School, and Woodcroft College. Each team demonstrated excellent skills in teamwork, problem solving, and programming. The goal was for the students - with the help of their dedicated teachers - to programme a NAO robot to dance for up to 30 seconds using the Choregraphe software.

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However, the extra challenge was none of the students had ever worked with a physical robot before! All the teams completed their preparatory coding work on the Virtual Robot in Chorégraphe. Then, at the Dance Off Hackathon, they were able to get hands on with a real NAO robot to test out their programming. It was fantastic to see all the teams take up the challenge and have fun, while adjusting any last-minute coding to create their innovative dance moves.

Everyone made a brilliant effort, especially our winners … Woodcroft College!

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Our Everybody Dance NAO Champions from Woodcroft College created a NAO dance that incorporated music, flashing LEDs (that changed colour) and speech, alongside great, balanced dance moves!

Each of the Dance moves were judged on their Balance, Creativity, Fluidity of Movement and Musical Timing, with a bonus point for original musical composition. We were fortunate to have three exceptionable judges, who had the unenviable task of picking a winner from 10 amazing dance compositions.

We would like to thank our Judges, The Lady Mayoress of Adelaide Genieveve Theseira-Haese, Monica Williams from AISSA and Simon Loffler from University of SA MOD for their generous support.

And likewise, a big thank you to the Adelaide City Library, the students, teachers and their families for supporting this wonderful event. 

NAO Tips Vol. 6: Virtual Robot Sound Troubleshooting

Building programs for NAO on the Virtual Robot within Choregraphe is a great way to experiment without access to a physical robot and is the main methodology used in the Everybody Dance NAO competition.

But for this to work effectively you need to be able to hear the Music to get your dance moves in sync. This troubleshooting guide should help get it working if you are not hearing anything.

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Getting Setup

Step 1: Get your music

Choose your song and ensure it is in the correct format. The Virtual Robot will only play .WAV and .OGG file types; .WAV is recommended however.

Step 2: Edit and Name

If you only intend to use 30 seconds of a 3 minute song it is best to trim it down to only the section you require. This is to minimise the file size and your load times for your program. It is best to do this with Audacity or other music editing programs like Garage Band. When this is complete ensure to export your file as a .WAV and create a file name with NO SPACES.

Step 3: Play in Choregraphe

In Choregraphe create a Play Sound Box found in Audio/Sound/Play Sound. Connect this to your program and click the Spanner in its lower left corner. Then select the file selector next to file name and within the now open dialog click the plus (+) icon in the top right and select Import Files. Find your music file and select it. Once imported select your file from the Parameter Selection List and click OK.

Step 4: Play the file

Run your program and check for sound. Ensure your computers volume is turned up and that other computer sounds work. If it does not work please consult the list below for a solution.

 

Troubleshooting Steps

File Format

Ensure the file is a .WAV file the file name should be filename.wav, if it is not please convert to .wav using an online converter or music editing program.

File Name

Ensure there are no spaces in the file name, you can shorten it or use a programming case convention like camelCase (new word is capitalised) or snake_case (underscores separate words).