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.
Thanks for helping with Snap!Con 2022!
AI is an intelligence multiplier, in the same way that industrial machines are muscle multipliers. As our AI gets better, it will allow people to do more, faster, and better, in just about every field of work. Though the development of new AI methods remains the province of highly trained researchers, all of us are already interacting with AI daily, and so it’s important for everyone, and especially our students, to develop an understanding of how AI works and how to use it well.
Humans learn best by doing, and so the goal of this workshop is to get hands-on with Machine Learning, which is one method of producing AI. You will learn about the strengths and limitations of Machine Learning models used to detect objects in images by training a Machine Learning model to detect different objects. You’ll then link this model into Snap!, to enable you to use the model you’ve created as a new sensor within Snap!
This workshop uses free software, Google Teachable Machine, to do the model training. The lessons were originally designed to train models to control BirdBrain Technologies’ robots, the Finch Robot and the Hummingbird Robotics Kit, but they can be used to control arbitrary Snap! programs and this workshop will not require any robots or other special hardware. BirdBrain has created lessons that allow control of Snap! programs using objects, sound, and pose. This workshop will focus on object recognition, but the process for training sound or pose models is nearly identical and well-documented on our Snap! AI page.
About the Workshop Leaders Tom Lauwers founded BirdBrain Technologies in 2010 after receiving his doctorate in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. His research was founded on engaging all students, regardless of background, in robotics and engineering. Tom seeks to design educational tools that catalyze positive making, coding, and engineering learning experiences in the classroom. 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 (or AI) uprising.
Jen Norton provides technical support, curriculum development, and classroom integration strategies to teachers. With over 11 years of teaching Math and Computer Science, Jen is passionate about making Computer Science education accessible for all students. Jen resides in a quiet suburb outside of Atlanta with her husband, son, and two cats. In her free time, you can find Jen reading, playing video games, or going for a cruise in her ’65 Mustang.
- 1 h
- Room 1
- Snap!Con 2022