Children train robots in school to prepare for the future workplace

Children as young as ten years old are now learning how to train robots in their schools as a result of Rethink Robotics’ expanding distribution of the Baxter Research Robot.

The Baxter Research Robot is a humanoid robot designed to help in fields such as healthcare, manufacturing and education. The robots can typically be found in laboratories, graduate and undergraduate programs, and are even being used as an educational tool in primary school classrooms.

According to Scott Eckert, the CEO of Rethink Robotics, “By the time [today’s students] enter the workforce, robots will be integrated into nearly every industry, as we see in manufacturing today.”

Indeed, robots are becoming a crucial component for automotive, plastics, electronics and various other industries that string together manual tasks to build their products, as they provide cheap and reliable labour.

The increasing use of robots in many fields has stirred fears of job displacement for human workers. But by educating children about how to operate robots and perhaps even program or design them, we can ensure that people will adapt their future careers to the use of robots.

In addition, students will learn how they can improve the robots of the future to optimize efficiency in their workplaces while maintaining a healthy job market.

“These children will have an important advantage—experience—thanks to the K-12 schools, colleges and universities that are investing in robotics now,” Eckert stated.

Rethink Robotics has recently partnered with three new distributors, Robotshop, Teq, and Gaitech International, giving classrooms around the world the opportunity to use Baxter, not just those in the US where the Rethink’s robots are designed and manufactured.

“Robotics already play a large part in the educational market and corporate [research and development] markets and that will only continue to grow. Providing Baxter Research Robots to the Asian market is a logical and important step in that growth,” said Jenssen Chang, CEO of Gaitech International.

baxter-research-thumb1

The use of robots in the classroom points to a future where they are a normal and indispensable part of everyday life in our homes, school and workplaces. Nearly every job could require some level of interaction with robots.

As this vision of the future becomes a reality, it will become more important than ever for all people to have baseline knowledge about robots and how they operate.

Perhaps one day robot training programs such as the one Baxter provides will even become mandatory curriculum for schools.


Images and video courtesy of Rethink Robotics.


Wishing you a futuristic Christmas and a fantastic New Year from team Factor

Factor is taking a break for the Christmas season, but we’ll be returning in January for more futuristic news and features.

Until then, check out our stunning new digital magazine, which is free to read on any device for your future fix.

From the issues of today, to the future of tomorrow and beyond, there’s something for everyone, from flying cars and Richard Stallman on privacy to life in the 22nd century and the space colonies of the future human race. There’s even a look at the Christmas dinners of the future.

And if you’re still looking for presents, check out of bumper futuristic gift guide for ideas to suit every budget.

Merry Christmas, and see you in 2018!

FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service on certain content. The FCC’s net neutrality rules were originally passed in 2015.

Doctors say Haemophilia A trial results are "mind-blowing"

Doctors say the results of a gene therapy trial into haemophilia A, whose suffers don't produce a protein needed to stop bleeding, are "mind-blowing". Thirteen patients given the gene therapy at Barts Health NHS Trust are now off treatment with 11 producing near-normal levels of the protein.

Source: BBC

Scientists use stem cells to make paralysed rat walk again

Scientists have used stem cells from an adult human's mouth to induce spinal cord regeneration in a rat. This effectively created a pathway circumventing the injured area so that instructions from the brain could reach the rest of the body, curing the animal that was previously totally paralysed.

NASA uses AI to find new exoplanet

Researchers have announced the discovery of an eighth planet orbiting the star Kepler-90. The discovery of Kepler 90i was made when researchers on the Kepler planet-hunting telescope teamed up with artificial intelligence specialists at Google to analyse data collected by the space-based observatory.

AI engine AlphaZero's win will "scramble" chess world

Having beaten the world's the highest-rated chess engine Stockfish, world champion chess player Viswanathan Anand believes the AI programme AlphaZero will change the way humans play the game. "We've got a clean start and the implications are very interesting," said Anand.

Source: ESPN

Following criticism, animal shelter fires security robot

A San Francisco animal adoption agency will immediately stop using a controversial security robot. The move comes after the San Francisco SPCA had been criticised for its deployment of a Knightscope K9 to mitigate vandalism and the presence of homeless people at its Mission District office.

Source: Ars Technica