Presented by:

Tom Lauwers

from BirdBrain Technologies LLC

Tom is Founder and CEO at BirdBrain Technologies, located in Pittsburgh, PA. He seeks to design educational tools that catalyze positive making, coding, and engineering learning experiences in the classroom.

Tom received a Ph.D in robotics in 2010 from Carnegie Mellon in part for his work designing the Finch Robot and Hummingbird Robotics Kit. Tom's research was founded on engaging all students, regardless of background, in robotics and engineering, and BirdBrain's products continue this mission. The Finch is a small robot designed to inspire and delight students learning computer science by providing a tangible representation of their code. The Hummingbird is a kit that allows students to create and program robots built from electronic components and craft materials.

Tom resides in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood with his wife, two kids, cat, and a small army of robots. He would be an invaluable ally in the event of a robot uprising.

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Remote robots are robotics projects that can be accessed and programmed via the internet by anyone from anywhere. These robots use the NetsBlox platform, a multiplayer networking blocks programming environment that is derived from Snap! Remote Robots offer a way to inject physical computing and IoT concepts into the online/virtual space; it provides an experience that is more compelling than a simulation, at low or potentially no cost to the student. The idea was developed in April 2020 as part of BirdBrain Technologies’ response to the pandemic, and we presented a workshop about it at last year’s Snap! Con. In this talk, we'll give a brief technical primer of how Remote Robots work, and then present inspiring examples of teachers using the technology in the past school year to keep robotics projects relevant and accessible during the pandemic. We'll end with a discussion of where we see Remote Robots fitting into a post-COVID future.

20 min
Room 1
Snap!Con 2021