CSAIL opens lab to area high school students for Hour of Code

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December 13, 2014

CSAIL students present high school students with realtime exposure to robotics and more on Dec. 11.
On Dec. 11, 2014, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab hosted 150 local students for its first annual “Hour of Code” demo fair, tied to the international initiative aimed at getting young people excited about programming.

Researchers showed off their work to math and computer science students from schools throughout greater Boston, including the cities of Cambridge, Dorchester, Marblehead, Roxbury, and Somerville.

The event also included a surprise video message from musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist will.i.am, who commended the students on their efforts to practice programming.

“Since 2006 I’ve been visiting CSAIL to check out all the amazing projects there,” said will.i.am. “It’s made me realize that computer scientists are truly today’s rock stars.”

Among the projects on display were self-assembling “M Blocks” that can spin, spring, and slide into different configurations; a self-driving wheelchair and other forms of assistive technology; and a "robot garden” with origami-inspired robots that can move and change color with the touch of a tablet.

Read more in the article by Adam Conner-Simons on the CSAIL website.

[Photo below: Students were treated to this display of colorful, origami-inspired robotic plants that can change colors and can open and close their petals through a computer-programmed tablet interface. The "robot garden" was designed to teach students from kindergarten through twelfth grade about the basics of computer programming. Researchers include graduate student Joseph DelPreto, research Lindsay Sanneman and PI Daniela Rus.] 

These colorful, origami-inspired robotic plants can change colors and the petals can open and close by using a computer-programmed tablet interface. The mission of the "robot garden" is to teach students from kindergarten through twelfth grade about the basics of computer programming. Researchers: Graduate student Joseph DelPreto, researcher Lindsay Sanneman & PI Daniela Rus.