Georgia Tech MOOC Takes 'Robotics Lab' to the Masses


Georgia Tech MOOC Takes 'Robotics Lab' to the Masses

Mar 31, 2014

EDU HARDWARE GETS A PROOF POINT: For those investors outside of what Matt Greenfied describes as a "small but hardy group of venture capitalists interested in consumer hardware," consider this nifty online education innovation happening at Georgia Tech:

The QuickBot, designed by Georgia Tech Robotics PhD, Rowland O'Flaherty, is a sub-$300 solution for students in Dr. Magnus Egerstedt's Control of Mobile Robots MOOC that's taking their learning from theory to practice.

The glue behind the scenes --locating robot parts for online learners around the world-- has been built by Y-Combinator-backed, DIY search engine, Octopart.

Of course, online instructions for building robots represents only a small portion of longstanding DIY capabilities. But 1,000 online learners distributed around the globe, applying calculus and linear algebra to automate their own robots under the digital "tutelage" of a world class robotics professor? All of a sudden, doing it yourself seems so, well, pedestrian.

And perhaps a new debate is on the horizon: Might a sub-$300, project-based build-your-own robot be a more desirable (or scalable) learning tool than say, a sub-$300 Chromebook?

A Georgia Tech QuickBot

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