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Future Tech: 

Learn to program in the robotic garden

Curated by coders: the robotic garden.

Curated by coders: the robotic garden.

This robotic garden has got more than 100 origami robots. Some of them crawl and swim, whilst others blossom like flowers. It’s not just here to look pretty, though, it’s in fact a tool designed to get more children interested in programming.

It can be controlled via any Bluetooth enabled device, with a ‘control by click’ and ‘control by code’ function, depending on the level of challenge required. The latter is more rewarding, as it allows more control and for sequences to be executed in real time.

In total, there are 100 different robots in the garden including eight varieties of origami flowers, robot sheep and robot ducks.

Lindsey Sanneman, lead author of the paper describing the project, said, “Students can see their commands running in a physical environment, which tangibly links their coding efforts to the real world. It’s meant to be a launchpad for schools to demonstrate basic concepts about algorithms and programming.”

The creators hope that the garden will be incorporated in local school curriculums to teach coding, with robots that can be printed easily in the institutions themselves. “Many elements of the garden can be made very quickly, including the pouch motors and the LED flowers,” explains Joseph Delpiero, one of the projects creators. “We’re hoping that rapid fabrication techniques will continue to improve to the point that something like this could be easily built in a standard classroom.”

Currently, however, only one person can control the garden at a time – something the creators intend to work on soon, along with other more blue-sky ideas, like adding microphones with music that would sync to the ‘creatures’ movements.

You can see the robotic garden in action in the video below – and hopefully in the school curriculum in years to come.

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