Sphero’s New RVR Robot Is More Hackable Than Ever

RVR is rugged, affordable, expandable, and easy to program Sphero is introducing a new robot today on Kickstarter. Called RVR, which can either be pronounced just like it’s spelled or like “rover,” the robot is a development platform designed to be a bridge between educational robots like Sphero and more sophisticated and expensive platforms like Misty. It’s mostly affordable, very expandable, and comes from a company with a lot of experience making robots. 

Festival of Learning highlights innovation

The third annual Festival of Learning, organized by MIT Open Learning and the Office of the Vice Chancellor, highlighted educational innovation, including how digital technologies and shared best practices are enabling educators to drive better learning outcomes for MIT students and global learners via online courses. “As a community, we are energized by all the transformation and innovation happening within the education space right now,” said Krishna Rajagopal, dean for digital learning, open learning, as he kicked off the festival. The educator’s role: to engage and inspire learners Keynote speaker Po-Shen Loh, Carnegie Mellon University associate professor, founder of online education platform Expii, and coach of the U.S. International Math Olympiad Team, surprised a morning audience of about 400 people in Room 10-250 when he held up a small red die and asked why opposite sides of the die always add up to seven. Loh then began a lively, Socratic Continue reading Festival of Learning highlights innovation

Can Machine Learning Teach Us Anything?

Games, Computers, and Humans Illustration: Edmon DeHaro The breathless headline caught my eye: “Computer Shows Human Intuition—AI Breakthrough!” (or words to that effect). I was intrigued but skeptical. Reading further, I learned that a computer program, AlphaZero, developed by a team at DeepMind, in London, had beaten other champion chess-playing programs, as well as (of course) humans. That wasn’t the interesting news, as we take that kind of dominance for granted these days. What fascinated me was how the program had been constructed. Instead of being tuned by expert players, AlphaZero initially knew nothing more than the rules of chess. It learned how to play, and to win, by playing against itself. Soon it got so good it could beat everyone and everything. But, I wondered, isn’t this what humans have been doing for centuries—learning by playing chess against ourselves? What, if anything, has the computer learned so quickly that we Continue reading Can Machine Learning Teach Us Anything?