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SURE Robotics Research Part 2

SURE Robotics Research Part 2

In the summer of 2014 I had the privilege to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Robotics at Georgia Tech. The program was aimed at providing students with graduate research experience with a faculty professor. My research was conducted under Professor Ayanna Howard’s in the HumAns Lab. The lab focuses on creating robots that make work, play, and home easier for certain individuals.  The goal of my project was to create an educational Android application using Unity 3D, a downloadable software that allows individuals with the ability to create games for a wide variety of devices. The main goal was to complete a game in Unity 3D with the ability to socially interact with an Avatar Robot created by Romibio a robotics design company for children.

Figure 1: Romibio Robot 

During the first week of the SURE Robotics Program I focused on enhancing my programming knowledge, and researching the United States math standards for elementary students. To enhance my computing skills in C# (a programming language) I completed several online tutorials using Brackey, a Unity 3D tutorial site. After completing these tutorials, I decided to create an app geared toward pre-k to 3rd grade and focus on the area of math. In 2014, the Department of Education notes that only 16 percent of American high school students are prepared for the STEM career fields.  This was my main reason for creating a math game as a platform to address these issues. The math concepts addressed in the game are found in the Common Core Standards which is math requirements for elementary through high school students implemented by several States and territories within the United States.

Figure 2: Popchilla’s World on left and on right Toca Boca App for children 

I also conducted research on successful educational children’s apps. I found two main apps that were effective they included Popchilla World and Toca Boca.  Popchilla World is an application that interacts with a robot used for children with autism to help with their social skills. Toca Boca is an app for elementary students that are geared toward challenging students to enhance their skills in discovery. The success of both apps is due to the following: interaction, colors, and animations. These are the main reasons I chose to model my application after these games.  After conducting research on the educational standards, and enhancing my programming skills. I was then able to begin brainstorming game concepts and storylines to incorporate within the application. My goals for the next blog are to explain the design process for the game and the Unity 3d software.




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