As part of National Robotics Week, on April 10, 2014, nearly 2,000 students, teachers and parents attended the USC Viterbi Robotics Open House, an annual event sponsored by the Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems where robotics researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering open their lab doors to show the public what their research is all about.
The USC Viterbi Robotics Open House is part of the ongoing outreach efforts of USC Viterbi through VAST, the Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher program, with the goal of inspiring the next generation with the creativity and possibilities of science, technology, engineering and math.
Students were treated to demonstrations from graduate and postdoctoral students who showed them the research robot they work with—such as PR2, Nao and underwater robots—and talked about what robotics is and how they first became interested in engineering. You can learn more about the featured robots in these videos, and take our quiz to find out which robot you would be.
Graduate student Elaine Short and Chili. Photo by Gus Ruelas.
Graduate student Elaine Short introduced Chili, a Dragonbot developed at MIT that helps young children learn about healthy eating habits. A highly interactive robot, she asks students what sorts of food they like to eat, and she shares information on her favorite foods. To tie the information together, we learn that she is training for a dragon competition and needs to eat healthy foods to be competitive. This cuddly robot is covered in red fur and adorned with plush dragon wings, which she got from local puppet shop, Viva La Puppet. Chili’s face is an iPhone screen, so her mouth animates when she talks, and she can make funny faces.
Visitors also had the opportunity to see 3-D scanning and printing demonstrations, as well as the visual sensory system for the Beobot. Students were also invited to play with consumer robots like Pleo the dinosaur and the Scribbler.