With the double aim of making robots accessible to non-experts and introducing high-schoolers to academics and student life at CMU, we invited a group of students from The Future is Mine to take a tour of the Gates-Hillman Center for Computer Science, led by experts on and inhabitants of the building - Facilities Director Jim Skees, Professor of Art Bob Bingham, and Masters’ Student David Adamson. Each tour guide provided their unique perspective on and stories of the space to a subset of the students.
Afterward, we introduced them to Cobot, another inhabitant of the Gates Cetner - Cobot is an autonomous service robot, designed for delivering mail and messages, and more importantly accompanying visitors, throughout the building. The students collaborated on scripting a tour that Cobot would deliver to later visitors, drawing from their tour experiences to tell their own story of the place, through words and images and movement.
Minutes after they were done writing, the students were led on another tour - the very one they had written, and Cobot was their guide. They giggled at its synthesized voice and occasional wrong turns, and proudly spotted the parts of the tour that were theirs.
Cobot delivered the TFIM tour to a group of younger students a few weeks later - they loved it! The students’ work will live on as part of a set of robot tours available to CMU visitors.
Just wanted to thank everyone for a great visit, tour, and learning experience with The Future is Mine student leadership group. As a mentor, it is always rewarding to see students see and learn about something new in the world of technology. The experience with the tourbot was so innovative. It really opened my eyes to the wonderful and useful ways that robots will someday be used in our everyday lives. I congratulate all of you at CMU’s Create lab for thinking “outside the box”. Thanks again for a very informative and fun day!
Diane Rutten, TFIM Mentor, Pittsburgh Carrick Culinary Arts Instructor