To get middle school and high school students more interested and engaged with STEM topics like coding and robotics, Texas Instruments developed its TI-Innovator Rover bot.
By writing programs on their TI graphing calculators, students can make their rovers move, crash, dance or even draw when a pen is attached.
“We created Rover to demystify robotics and give students who might be intimidated by programming an easy on-ramp to learn to code,” TI Education Technology president Dr. Peter Balyta said in a press release. “Given the sheer joy we have seen on students’ faces as they learned to code during our testing phase, we are excited to see how Rover will inspire more young minds through an introduction to robotics.”
The rover connects to the TI-Innovator Hub and a TI-84 Plus CE or TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator, which the students then use to write basic code using algebra or geometry. The code dictates the rover’s actions and lets students better visualize the math they are performing on the calculator.
Girls from Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas participated in a pilot program of the rover where girls could practice using math to direct the robot. “It’s more interactive than what you would usually do in a regular classroom with math; it’s hands-on, very visual, and fun and exciting at the same time,” Bishop Dunne Catholic High School sophomore Mia Gonzales said in the statement.
The rover is designed specifically to be used in the classroom and comes with a rechargeable battery, LED display, gyroscope, color sensor, distance sensor and marker holder. It will be available for purchase in the U.S. and Canada this fall and released in Europe in early 2018.