butiábot: XO Linerider robot in action

Team BUTIÁ from Uruguay has been working on an XO robotics project for over a year. They showed off their line-following XO-robot, butiabot, in Montevideo this weekend. An XO running TurtleArt code hooked up to a mobile robotic platform followed a dark line along the ground.
XO on top of a flat wheeled robot, showing the TurtleArt program controlling it

They have posted some details of their prototypes online.
This reminds me of the XO hack to control a Roomba over the Net, but cooler, with Turtle Art and a realtime-hackable control program.

Peru to deploy XO-1.75s this year, passing 1M laptops in all

Peru’s president Alan Garcia today committed to expanding their national program, the largest in the world, including developing national facilities for manufacturing / assembling laptops in-country. They will distribute their 1 millionth XO by the end of the year, reaching students in 100% of the country’s public primary schools, and 15 percent of all registered public school students. Some of these schools will get XO-1.75s, and 20,000 schools will get additional LEGO WeDo kits for use in class robotics programs. The XO-1.75 will use a Marvell Armada 600 ARM chip, lowering power consumption to make it the most energy efficient laptop around.

Rodrigo Arboleda said of the latest announcement: “Being the largest deployment worldwide, Peru is an outstanding example of OLPC. We hope to see other countries establish manufacturing facilities of the scale and magnitude of Peru’s. Local manufacturing of XO laptops will enable Peru both to transform education and to make important investments in its economy.”

Peru is continuing its efforts to build software, content, and ideas for constructionist class work. Through their ongoing partnership with LEGO Education, they will finish distributing 92,000 LEGO WeDo kits to OLPC classrooms in Peru, and will develop related robotics and programming curriculum for younger students.
And the Peru Ministry of Education continues to invest in developing new Sugar applications and learning games for their own schools and others, assisted by OLPC’s global volunteer community (eg. Somos Azúcar) finishing translations of Sugar into Aymara and Quechua, and translating a teacher’s curriculum guide — most recently into French for schools in Madagascar.

I hope to get an update from some of these devs at the upcoming eduJAM! summit in Uruguay.

LEGO WeDo and OLPC Peru: national collaboration

The Government of Peru and LEGO’s Education group have been testing the WeDo toolkit in classrooms with XOs since it was released in 2008. This year they have launched a national program to distribute WeDo kits to roughly 20,000 schools.

LEGO’s Lars Nyengaard writes:

“I am happy to announce that the first major deployment of WeDo for XO will happen in Peru, starting this year. An amazing 20.000 schools will be populated with WeDo. 80.000 teachers will be taught in WeDo and the constructionist approach. More than 1,5 million children will experience WeDo across Peru.

We visited Brazil and Peru to understand the challenges for education in some of the underserved areas. Personally, I will never forget my visits to Brazil, the people I met and the children trying out our WeDo prototypes… we have pursued the original idea of bringing robotics constructonism and WeDo to countries, where the OLPC XO is deployed. I am happy, joyful and invigorated by the decision of the Peruvian government to deploy 92.000 WeDo sets with programming software, activities and teacher training.”

OLPC has been testing many different types of sensors and electronics kits, since the earliest work on Turtle Art with Sensors. The XO has also become a fine dedicated Scratch machine, and WeDo kits are easily enabled from within Scratch (with some handy video tutorials). If you can get your hands on an XO and a WeDo kit, try this with your friends, children, and students.