With our Lab Liftoff skills camps around the corner, we look at the wider robotics landscape and what’s been inspiring us at the iOi.

What’s a robot, really?

One of the earliest appearances of the word appeared in the title of Karel Capek’s play ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots’. The word was born from the Czech word Robota, meaning ‘forced labour’. The image often brought to mind, depicted in sci-fi films and literature, is tech that mimics human behaviour and form, carrying out the whims of the human mind. Now more than ever, the fields of robotics is developing at a rapid pace with some amazing inventions being conjured up by the human imagination.

Some people are excited by where robotics can take us, others may be intimidated at the thought of what robots can do, considering the dystopian futures that films like iRobot have presented to us throughout the years. Here at iOi, we’ve loved looking into the amazing robotics projects coming to life around the world, particularly those of exploration and discovery. Inventions which take us to places that we as humans aren’t capable of reaching without the help of our robo-friends.

Journey to the bottom of the sea

One US technology company recently revealed that it has developed one of its green energy technologies into a propulsion system for a swimming robot capable of exploring land and sea.

The company has christened the new robot as Velox. The Velox robot can move through water as well as over sand, pebbles, snow and ice, making it possibly the most effective robot in studying and mapping the surf-zone, where waves meet the shore. Velox’s versatility is due to undulating soft fins which are placed either side of Velox and move in a hyperbolic pattern echoing the amphibious movements of a sting-ray – quite amazing! Watch Velox in action here on YouTube

The company has said that in the future, Velox robots could be quiet giants in the deep ocean, small drones skipping over mud flats or medium-sized craft whisking people across ice at high speeds. It has even been suggested that Velox could be used by NASA as craft to explore Jupiter’s Moon Europa.

With robotics, we can reach places that are unseen to the human eye, places where we can only imagine what wonders might be discovered!

Pick up robotics skills at the Imagination Lab

We’ll be exploring the basics of robotics this February half term and on 9 March, with Lab Liftoff: Bricks & Code. Using LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 kits, children aged 7-12 will get the chance to tackle real-world challenges using these robotics kits and coding skills. Find out more on our what’s on page.

These skills camps will be returning in the Easter holidays. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know when the Easter camps are on sale.

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