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posted by LaminatorX on Monday September 29 2014, @12:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the Teddy-Ruxbot dept.

A pair of engineer fathers have created a plush toy robot that teaches science to kids. Now they're on Kickstarter to raise the money to bring it to market. They are currently around half-way to their $60,000 goal with 10 days to go. So, they really need your help.

TROBO links with an app running on iOS 7 or greater to tell its stories, though they've promised an Android version if they reach their stretch goal of $100,000.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by dcollins on Monday September 29 2014, @01:27PM

    by dcollins (1168) on Monday September 29 2014, @01:27PM (#99566) Homepage
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by strattitarius on Monday September 29 2014, @02:32PM

    by strattitarius (3191) on Monday September 29 2014, @02:32PM (#99596) Journal
    I like the idea, but this paragraph from TFA really put me off:

    “Witnessing his daughter Sophia spend hours learning to be a princess, led Jeremy to want something more foundational for her future. He wanted to share his love of learning technology and engineering with his daughter,” he says. “I had a similar experience with Asher, who spends a significant amount of time with Hot Wheels cars and mindlessly watching cars on YouTube.”

    So their kids were normal kids, just like the two dad's when they grew up (most likely), they seemed to enjoy non-electronic activities (tea parties and Hot Wheels), and yet the Dad's want to push them to change story time into something with a screen? Being into cars, an industry responsible for many advancements in STEM and manufacturing, is mindless?

    I do believe we have too much screen time for kids... it's so easy for them to get into a game on the phone or XBOX. I like that my kid is into Legos, mud pies, and riding bikes. I also like that he loves to read a good old fashioned dead tree children's book. He has plenty of time to learn about STEM. Right now I want him to learn manners, respect, and the basics of reading and writing.

    I am not against this in any way, but I just didn't like the "OMG, my Daughter is into PRINCESSES! My kid likes cool looking sports cars! Must replace with STEM!"

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    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday September 29 2014, @03:38PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday September 29 2014, @03:38PM (#99628)

      This is why it won't sell.

      Anybody on the planet can watch Gilbert Strang's (MIT professor) linear algebra class videos online. nobody does.

      Most "education via tech" sounds pie in the sky, like how TV was supposed to bring opera and orchestras and educational opportunities into everyones house, but all it really provides in 2014 is honey boo boo, toddlers in tiaras, and jersey shore. And some sports, and some political propaganda channels. Thats about it. Oh well.

      That's all you're gonna get out of a talking doll, either it'll be fluff and it'll sell, or it won't sell.

      Maybe a talking doll out of Charlie Stross's Rule 34 book would sell. Someone will try sooner or later, I'm sure. Assuming that's not already available. The funniest part of the trilogy is why the third book got cancelled.

      • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Tuesday September 30 2014, @06:16PM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 30 2014, @06:16PM (#100069) Journal

        Actually I did just that the other day thanks to you: so thank you! :) But I didn't get around to replying to your comment then.

        Here's the archive page [archive.org] I used (the MIT pages weren't as direct). That's calculus (simply what I found first) but I'm sure there must be other stuff as well (haven't had time to watch it all so I don't know how far it goes).

        Speaking for myself there's no shortage of interest however (and despite aiming to watch more/all) most days I've got no time and energy left over, isn't that how it is for most people? That's why effortless enjoyment/entertainment (i.e. dumb TV shows or whatever poison one chooses) is popular; people can zone out and collapse before going to sleep or alternatively use the down-time as a kind of waking power-nap before a last burst of activity.

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        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday September 30 2014, @08:07PM

          by VLM (445) on Tuesday September 30 2014, @08:07PM (#100106)

          I donno man, when I was a starving student I gained motivation to pay attention to class by stacking 80 pound bags of salt on a pallet, get that piece of paper or I'll be stuck stacking salt till I'm 65... I don't feel that excuse now that I drive a desk and type scala code into an emacs tmux for 10 hrs / day. If I was still stacking 80 lbs bags of salt all day I'd feel thats a good excuse.

          Exercise energizes so I hike after meals when I can. Also I watch stuff like that, or infoq videos, or whatever during my lunch when the weather is too awful to go hiking.

          This guy has a lot of interesting "lunch hour length" presentations

          http://www.infoq.com/author/Rich-Hickey [infoq.com]

          I did a whole "automata theory" class that way during an icky winter a couple years ago, just one snowy -20 degree lunch hour at a time.

          • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Wednesday October 01 2014, @11:19AM

            by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 01 2014, @11:19AM (#100397) Journal

            Heh I listened to the Clojure introduction from 2008 and now I need a nap xD Clocking in at slightly under 30 minutes for that much is pushing it too hard for me, then again I'm not the target audience.

            --
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    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Monday September 29 2014, @03:40PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Monday September 29 2014, @03:40PM (#99630) Journal

      To me it is stupid to force any learning onto a child. It feels as if they are trying to forcibly mould their children into their perfect image or prodigies when that is exactly the opposite of how it works. Let them explore for themselves.

      As a young child (3 -4 yo)I loved to play with of all things, extensions cords. My father would bring me extension cords, plugs and outlets from work and both he and my mother made damn sure I wasn't actually plugging them in. I would string them together, tie them together and run them all over the house. After a while I started to tinker with radios, and other small electronics devices. My father even pulled this big video editing console out of the trash at a local college and bought it home for me to tinker with. Then he bought our first computer a Franklyn ACE 1200 (Apple II clone). That was it, technology was firmly cemented into my mind, it was what I loved. I was full of a million questions and my father was there to answer them or even find out answers for me.

      The idea was to naturally let me explore the world. As they saw which things I gravitated to and enjoy playing with and they helped me along by buying me toys and gadgets that I liked. I wasn't forced to love technology, I loved it on my own. They saw I liked it and they let me run with it. That is how you do parenting right. Asking some website how to teach your kids STEM is wrong. Just because you are an engineer or geek or whatever doesn't mean your child will be. He might turn out to be a garbage man, famous actor or senator. Who the heck knows. It is your job to see what they home in on and gently feed them more. If they like painting maybe buy them a little painting set with a canvas and easel and see where it goes. Might be a phase or it might be the beginnings of the next Picasso. You won't know until you see what they like.

      *BUT* As I typed this it dawned on me: I was exposed to tech was through my father who was an engineer and business man. So I was exposed to technology in the form of a small CNC machine shop, wood working and basic electric stuff. So I had stimulation that pertained to what I liked. If your child isn't exposed to their passions in life then how do they find their ways? So In retrospect, doesn't force STEM. Instead take them to museums shows and exhibits. Growing up in NYC it was all about going to the flushing hall of science and the awesome liberty science center and Thomas Edison museum. That was what I loved to see as a kid. Take them out and see what stimulates them. Then buy them a toy or beginners kit to see if they take to it. I cant tell you how many of those awesome radio shack electronics learning labs I had. They bought me electronics kits, lego technic sets, Capsela, erector sets and whatever else they saw excited me. And it doesn't have to be science, it can be anything. Go take them to plays, musicals or other shows. As a kid I didn't mind seeing the Irish Tenors, River Dance or Broadway plays. I never wanted to sing or be in them but it was good that they brought me to those shows for the cultural aspects. Take them places and let them explore.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday September 29 2014, @03:53PM

        by VLM (445) on Monday September 29 2014, @03:53PM (#99641)

        I wouldn't necessarily disagree with anything you wrote, and it vaguely resembles my childhood and my own kids childhood, but I'd add to the mix, buy junk and let them tear it apart.

        It seems most decent engineers learned good engineering practice by osmosis by tearing well engineered junk apart. Its probably possible to be a decent engineer without taking junk apart, but I personally find it unlike.

        Make sure they ask questions and make sure they tear every little bit apart. And save some parts to rebuild into something else.

        Just surplus "things" Stuff from goodwill or garage sales or junk yard. I took apart an entire kitchen oven when I was in 6th grade down to the smallest component.

        I think as a general rule I wasn't allowed to throw something out unless I took it apart. Supposedly my dad did the same thing as a kid.

        My kids have torn apart VCRs and several laptops and DVD players and all manner of things. They find disassembling hard drives interesting although after a near ER incident with my first glass platter I keep a close eye on hard drive disassembly. We're raising a new generation after my kids who will only know SSDs which is too bad.

        This isn't as consumerist so it doesn't get any media coverage, but its probably more important than buying expensive .edu toys. Its cheaper unless you take it to extremes. No point buying a working VCR at a yard sale for $10 if there's a $1 or free if you haul away broken VCR.

        A kid at play should be holding a screwdriver (or a soldering iron)

        • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday October 02 2014, @01:12PM

          by LoRdTAW (3755) on Thursday October 02 2014, @01:12PM (#100923) Journal

          Ah, I should have added all the junk I was given. The video mixing console was just one of many pieces of junk my father dragged home. And the best part was my mother never minded the junk as she holds a masters in early childhood learning. She knew it was important for me to explore so she let me play with whatever*. One of my absolutely favorite destinations was going to canal st back in the mid-late 80's when the street was lined with surplus and speciality shops one block after another. My father would always buy me trinkets and gadgets to play with. One of my favorite were carbon arc rods that were copper coated for old search lamps. I used to melt metal and perform crappy welding with then using a battery charger.

          *Including fire outside in the yard. Of course she would watch from the window letting us think we were getting away with playing with fire. Meanwhile she just wanted us to get it out of our system so we didnt try to sneak and play with it in the house, burning it down. Only if things got out of hand would she come out and "catch" us playing so we would put it out.

    • (Score: 1) by lolococo on Monday September 29 2014, @08:38PM

      by lolococo (4579) on Monday September 29 2014, @08:38PM (#99758) Homepage
      I would be much more interested in something similar to the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer found in Neil Stephenson's The Diamond Age [wikipedia.org].
  • (Score: 2) by NoMaster on Tuesday September 30 2014, @12:21AM

    by NoMaster (3543) on Tuesday September 30 2014, @12:21AM (#99847)
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