Observations with the Scribbler

So far, only my parents, one of my sisters, and my nephew have gotten to interact with the Scribbler robot, and all of their reactions were very different. Please note that all of their reactions were noted almost immediately after receiving the robot, meaning that I had not programmed any demos for the robot yet.

My Parents:

Both of my parents seemed to think the robot was very cool, especially my father who is a scientist and researcher.  They both were curious as to its capabilities and what it was actually meant to do.  I told them about it’s sensors and that the robot was more of a tool kit for now. I would be the one programming the robot to do specific things and I had only had the robot for a day.  They seemed very focused on what the robot could do and it’s limitations.

My Nephew:

Probably the most interesting reaction came from my Nephew, Rusty.  Rusty is a 5 year old boy with a lot of energy and a love for cars.  When I first told him that I had brought  over a robot, he expected a humanoid robot like C3PO from Star Wars! I suppose this says something about the expectations of children when they hear the word robot these days.  When I pulled out the Scribbler, Rusty looked at me with a very confused face and asked me where the robot was. I told him that this was the robot, to which he replied, “That’s not a robot, that’s a car!” I laughed and explained to him that not all robots are human like and show him how I could control it. Once the Scribbler started moving around, Rusty wanted to play with it by jumping over it and moving it around himself. I let him take control, but he lost interest very quickly. This led me to believe that the Scribbler is neither hands on enough for a child, nor is it engaging enough for the knowledge base of a child.

June 29th Demo

Two Fridays ago, both teams went out in front of the Bookstore and demoed the PLEO and Scribbler robots. The PLEO robots gained most of the attention, despite me trying to move Megatron out into the crowd. Of the people that did pay attention to the Scribblers, I noticed that they were all older and in a Scientific field. These people wanted to know the limits of the robot and it’s capabilities, similar to my parents. The most asked question about the Scribbler was “What language is it programmed in?” This was mainly because they wanted to know if the robot language is friendly enough for their child to program in. Being that the scribblers come with a visual user interface but can also be programmed in a variety of languages, I deduce that the scribbler would be a great tool to teach students of various ages how to program.