Robotronica 2017

Once a year QUT hosts Robotronica a free Robotics and Technology Spectacular with demonstrations, workshops, games and discussions. Numerous engaging activities for all ages were available to explore and enjoy. A few of the many I visited: The Redback Garrison with Stormtroopers and R2-D2, Plastic Waste Elimination Challenge in the pool with marine bots, Robotic Arms, VR, designing a bot, Robogals, Space Flight….do not let Anne Weaver pilot!!! Prosthetic Leg Challenge, Sphero Obstacle Course…


I always enjoy the amazing number of hands-on displays and challenges in The Cube. The large interactive screen was extremely popular with Code-A-Bot an interactive digital game putting you in charge of programming robot workers to collect and sort rubbish, improving the overall efficiency of a waste recycling plant. Using The Cube’s digital touch screens, robots could be coded to move, sense, and collect or distribute rubbish around the facility and into the correct bins.

Rooms around The Cube had many workshops : EV3’s demonstrating their capabilities, simulations of launching a space shuttle, designing a bot and watching it become alive on the big screen and investigating the competences of the robotic arm. Playing with Cubelets was a first…

Another aspect of Robotronica I found intriguing was in QUT Art Museum where ‘Why Future Still Needs Us : AI and humanity’.  We are familiar with the emergence of artificial intelligence that is able to draw pictures, compose music, write novels and produce movies. These creative capabilities of AI are made possible with machine learning and deep learning, which are carried out by the use of big data and the increase in processing power. This quote from Stephen Hawkins 2015 in London makes us ponder such AI and us, in a machine age :

“Computers will overtake humans with AI at some point within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours. Our future is a race between the growing power of technology and the wisdom with which we use it.”

I was delighted to bump into Dr Andrew King as he was about to be part of ‘Robot Storytime’ reading his new
book. It was fun watching Nao dance and tell stories.

Fabulous day at Robotronica …..what an exciting future… 🙂


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Jackie Child
Jackie Child has been teaching primary aged students for 40 years in a number of countries. She is passionate about how children learn through constructivist pedagogy. She is a Teacher Librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School and a sessional tutor at Griffith University for pre-service teachers. Jackie doesn’t believe in standing still, there is always plenty to ‘do’ and learn!