By Dian Schaffhauser, courtesy of Steam Universe
A public library is using a robot to teach kids and adults coding, among other job duties. Pepper, a new member of the crew at Carroll County Public Library in Maryland, is a "humanoid," a human-like robot, who can strike up a conversation, dance or tell a story. The humans around Pepper control "her" actions using Choregraphe, a drag-and-drop interface.
Jen Bishop, emerging technologies supervisor at the library, told a local newspaper that the reason for acquiring the four-foot tall robot was to introduce patrons and the community "to what robots are," how they interact in public, what their strengths and limitations are and "how the underlying technology works."
According to the reporting, Pepper has already been programmed to give her name, explain where she's from, tell how much she weighs, what the weather report is and when she celebrates her birthday. She's also been taught to recognize certain people, such as the library staff.
Since her arrival at the beginning of the year, Pepper has traveled to various libraries in the community to allow people to learn how to program her. Choregraphe is a graphical tool that can be mixed with Python code and was developed by SoftBank Robotics (formerly Aldebaran Robotics), the company that produces Pepper.