By Maureen McTaggart
He might not have the agility of the Citroën transformer robots of TV advertising fame, but steady ED-E, RM's new device for teaching robotics, can really dance (check out the video).
RM wants to step up its performance with innovation - watch out for announcements about a new "creative" brand - and ED-E is one of its new developments. He is a handsome enough fellow and, while the hips are not exactly snakelike, his break-dancing routines aren’t half bad. And if he gets fed up of helping children (7+) with the principles of physics, mathematics, biology and engineering - what he's designed to do - advertising beckons. Produced by DACTA (now owned by RM), ED-E is packed with sophisticated technology and is said to be the first humanoid, biped robot designed for education - he really can walk on two legs, and swivel on one!
With the help of 17 small, powerful motors (servos) the robot can be programmed to mimic human movements, useful even for biology. This is done using a computer and dragging the desired position of the robot’s joints into the movie frame, then adding the time delay between movements. After previewing the result the routine can then be uploaded to the handset for ED-E to act out. His repertoire includes jumping, performing dance routines, headspins and backflips.
Through its transparent body, students can see exactly how the motors operate. And there is the option to put in additional servos and sensors. It comes pre-assembled, with teaching materials, animation software and a 12-month warranty.
DACTA commercial director Zenos Christo, says that ED-E is "a milestone". “Until now, robotics and control technology has traditionally been taught with wheeled or static devices. As the first robot designed for educational use in the UK, ED-E will offer a unique way in which pupils can learn some of the theories behind human movement, physics, programming and engineering. By studying the theory and then putting it into practice, pupils are more likely to grasp the relevance of what they’ve learnt and apply it to real-world situations. This kind of experience is invaluable in furthering development.“
ED-E will make his debut on the RM stand at BETT 2009 and his creator, Jim Wyatt, will be available for interviews and demonstrations..
Pricing for ED-E will start at £427 for robot, teaching materials and software, and RM will run a BETT special offer of £380
RM BETT stands C60 and D60