Robots Wow Students at JobSkills Expo in Gippsland

The JobSkills Expo, held on the 29th July 2014, attracted around 3,000 students from the Gippsland area. Many of the students took advantage of the opportunity to engage with the various exhibitors and enquire about careers in a wide variety of fields.

Training Systems Australia Managing Director Peter Birnbaum and Robotics Manager Pascal Mater provided one of the highlights by bringing the Baxter Manufacturing Robot and the Linkbot educational robots to the Expo. Most certainly the students were in awe as Baxter carried out a number of sorting tasks and had a great deal of fun using the Linkbot robots. For many it was the first time they had the opportunity to get up close and personal with robots of this type.

Whilst the Baxter Research Robot has found a place in many universities in Australia and around the world, the Baxter Manufacturing Robot is now starting to make its presence felt in industry. This provides a wonderful opportunity for young students to consider a career in which robots and automation are an important aspect. Training Baxter to carry out a task is simply a matter of manually moving its arms to do what you want it to do. Baxter then remembers and stores that information in its on-board computer. Today Baxter may be needed to pack cartons but tomorrow Baxter could be required to move products from one place to another. Baxter truly is a versatile member of the workforce.

The Linkbots, shown in Australia for the very first time created an enormous amount of interest. Students were fascinated by the ability to control a number of Linkbots by manipulating just one of them. They certainly wanted to have more time to explore their possibilities.

The Linkbot is a modular robot designed for use in the classroom by both teachers and students. It requires no assembly, includes software and can be used without the need for any additional programming code. Computer programming and robotics are just the beginning. Students take the concepts they learn in their core classes and apply them to real life problems where they are challenged to think critically and come up with creative solutions.

Linkbots can also be used to teach Maths in the classroom. In the US Linkbots are linked to Algebra 1 lessons. We chose Algebra 1 because it is a required course. It is also the first time students experience the difficulty of abstract mathematics. Algebra is one of the most repeated subjects in high school. It regularly delays graduation and often contributes to the high drop- out rate in schools throughout the US. Linkbot Labs provide lessons correlated to the Common Core Standards and meet the National STEM Initiative. The Linkbot is a physical tool that allows students to see, hear and touch the math. Training Systems Australia plans to associate Linkbots with the Australian curriculum to teach Maths.

For more information on Baxter or Linkbots please call Training Systems Australia on 03 95577993.

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