Robots in tech education get boost

REDMOND, Wash., July 12 (UPI) -- Microsoft will create an Institute for Personal Robots in Education in partnership with the College of Computing at Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr College.

The Institute aims to reinvigorate computer-science curricula by providing robotics technology tailored for teaching purposes, Microsoft said.


Georgia Tech will receive $1 million paid over three years to develop new ways to bring robot tech into the computer-science curriculum, and a matching $1 million will be provided by the College of Computing at Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr College.

In addition, IPRE will use Microsoft Robotics Studio as its core technology, less than a month after Microsoft previewed its new Microsoft Robotics Studio.

Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr were chosen from eight U.S. universities, Microsoft said, for "their combined excellence in robotics and curriculum innovation."

A tenet of their proposal includes every student's own personal robot, which are small, mobile robots to be available at university bookstores with a textbook and will be "inexpensive and dependable" and "take full advantage of the student's desktop computer for developing, debugging and running programs that control the robot."

IPRE will begin developing its technology and education immediately, with educational programs to roll out in January 2007.


"The time is right to transform computer science education, and creativity and contextualization are the key drivers," said Richard A. DeMillo, dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. "We are committed to expanding the horizons of our students by incorporating cutting-edge and engaging course -- such as robotics -- as core components of the curriculum. This effort, led by associate professor Tucker Balch, serves as yet another unconventional approach to education at the College of Computing at Georgia Tech."

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