24 SERVO 05.2015
You may not have heard of BQ, but the Spanish company is the second largest smartphone
manufacturer in Spain. BQ produces a large
selection of mid-range smartphones, tablets, and
ebook readers. But who cares about any of that.
BQ’s CEO, Alberto Mendez is so passionate
about inspiring the next generation of engineers
that he has created a robot kit for kids. These kits
are under $100 and they come with all sorts of
electronic components so you can build robots to
your own design. Programming will be handled
using a drag-and-drop interface on a desktop, and
you can even design and 3D print extra elements
to fit onto the robot.
The whole project is based on open source
hardware and software. Mendez explained that he
wants to inspire the next generation to get into
design, programming, and mechanical engineering.
Allowing kids to get hands-on time building a
robot is a great way to do it, compared to the
abstraction of traditional classroom education in
math and the sciences.
The kits cost around 80 to 90 euros ($90 to
$100). Go to
www.bq.com/gb/products/kit-robotica.html for more details.
Oh, and it dances like Michael Jackson, too:
PURRRFECT FOR THERAPY
JustoCat is a robotic therapy cat developed and scientifically evaluated in cooperation between robotics researchers and
health care researchers at Mälardalen University in Sweden.
JustoCat has been developed and tested in consultation with
patients/users and professional caregivers in Swedish dementia
care. The product creators have assumed that many people have
memories of spending time with cats and linked this to the
reminiscence method – to use memories from the past.
The functions of JustoCat make it resemble a live cat. It
breathes, purrs, and meows. One advantage with the cat's fur is
that it is washable and removable — thus, it can meet hygiene
requirements in an institution. JustoCat can provide peace, be
soothing, and be a tool for increased interaction and
communication. It is a complement in the care of people with
dementia and in the care of people with intellectual disabilities.
Tests and research demonstrates positive results from the users,
as well as from caregivers.
The goal of JustoCat is to enrich the daily lives of people
with dementia. It can provide increased psychological, physical,
and social well-being, says Lars Asplund, creator of JustoCat. A
preliminary study made by researcher, Marcus Persson at
Mälardalen University also shows the positive impact of the
psychosocial work environment for health care personnel.
JustoCat is now available on the European market, both for
sale and through leasing via the company Robyn Robotics AB,
operated by the two innovators/researchers at Mälardalen
University — Asplund and Christine Gustafsson. Several units
have already been sold to a number of health and social care
operators in Sweden and Europe.
Robotdalen participated in and contributed to the
development of JustoCat. You can always visit
www.robotdalen.se/en for further information.
KITS KEEP KIDS CLOSER