TechNews4Kids - Will a Robot Be Delivering Your Pizza Soon? MIT Hopes So!

It's no secret that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is taking the job force by storm. But what does it mean when it comes to AI and healthcare? Robotics is also largely influenced by AI, especially when it comes to delivering our goods and protecting and serving as a robot dog. But what do people think about them? Find out in this week's Tech News 4 Kids newsletter! Join our classes to learn about the latest technologies, including the AI that is mentioned here!

The Next Big Job for AI: Healthcare?


Artificial Intelligence has made daily life much easier (in some ways, at least). However, its usefulness doesn't stop with our day-to-day, AI is taking the on job force, and the next step might involve healthcare. Panelists discussed what might be next for jobs in healthcare and AI's involvement. Watch and see how!

How Can a Delivery Robot Find My Door?


Yep, you read that right, delivery robots! They were seen last year rolling through the streets, delivering Amazon goods and pizza alike. However, the navigation system needs some attention, and MIT is working to help these robots find your front door. Check out the technology they're using here!

Robotic Dogs Joined Boston's ... Bomb Squad?!

(Popular Mechanics)

Boston gave robot dogs a try, specifically for testing potentially unsafe areas that might involve bombs. The reaction of the internet was hilarious, but the technology and AI involved is fascinating. Find out what plans they have in store for Spot the robot dog, and watch a video about how they work, here!

Love these articles? Check out Tech News 4 Kids to read more news like this, and sign up for our fun computer science classes to learn more about the technologies driving these innovations.

Role Model of the Month - Jessica on Following Your Interests, No Matter What

Jessica is currently working on her PhD at MIT, with a focus in AI (Artificial Intelligence). Growing up, she always had a passion for engineering and science, but felt discouraged as one of the few girls in her classes. Since then, it’s been her mission to encourage young people to follow their interests and passions, and break the social biases that tend to come with them.

Want to open up your kids world? At Create & Learn, students learn state of the art computer technologies Jessica talks about such as AI, coding, and robotics, with experienced teachers -- check it out!

Christy: So, Jessica can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?  

Jessica: Definitely yeah so my name is Jessica Van Brummellen. Right now I am a PhD student at MIT, which basically means I've been in school for a very long time. 

I guess I'll start from high school: So I had a lot of different interests. I liked -- I really, really liked -- science and math. When I was in grade 10, I heard about this drafting course at my school. Drafting is kind of like engineering -- you get to design different projects. You get to do woodworking and that sort of thing. So, I signed up for this course in grade 10. I was really, really excited about it all summer long. When I got to grade 11, I showed up for the class I realized that there was only one other female student in the room. I got really discouraged and I just felt like I didn't belong so I ended up dropping the course, which was really unfortunate because it could have really helped me in my undergraduate degree, which is the degree I took after high school. So, if there's anything that I can do to encourage people not to be afraid to do things that maybe aren't standard, or maybe you're a little bit afraid about doing, definitely want to encourage people to do that. Follow your passions. And if you're interested in something, don't be afraid to do that. 

My older sister was doing sciences, so I actually went into a science degree after high school and I was going to become a doctor, but honestly I was a little queasy thinking about injuries. I ended up taking this one course in my undergrad called Engineering Drawing Tag Camp. It was very similar to this drafting course that I would have taken in high school. I ended up, after a long thought process, switching into Engineering and doing a Mechanical Engineering degree. 

I ended up going to graduate school and switching into computer science, because I also really, really liked coding and I was doing some self-driving car research for my undergrad. So, then I did my masters. I learned about lots of AI, lots of machine-learning. And then I made some conversational interfaces in App Inventor. 

What I'm doing now is my PhD. Specifically, I'm working on creating a conversational agent that you can talk to you. 

Christy: Could you talk a little bit more about how you first got into coding? It sounded like you weren't really exposed to it until college. What did that process look like for you? 

Jessica: This is actually a funny story -- so I didn't know what coding was until after high school -- and I was watching this really old movie with my friends, it's called The Matrix. I saw that the main character was a programmer. So, he was typing on this computer and making the computer. Two things I thought that was really cool, and I had no idea what that was, and I was like okay, I should look this up and figure out how it works. So, I ended up just Googling it and finding an online course and taking a course about how to program and really, really enjoying it. I didn't immediately go into a computer science degree, like I said before, but it was something that I was really interested in.

Christy: Can you talk a little bit more about what products you have created? What does the process look like for you, and what inspires you to create these different products? 

Jessica: Definitely. So, I'm not specifically doing product development, but I'm doing research, so I get to create different things and I can actually share my screen. 

Something I developed is called ‘Early Warning System for Cyclists.’ Basically, we put a bunch of sensors on the back of a bicycle to warn the cyclist about things that were behind them. They're called ultrasonic sensors, which use sound to get distance data. Then, I combined all of that data, all of that information that was coming from the sensors, to figure out how dangerous it was to the cyclist. I also put little motors and this in the handlebars. So basically, if there was a car that was coming up really dangerously close and fast behind the bicycle, then we would mode or vibrate the motors and tell the the cyclists which direction to go based on the vibrations. 

I can also talk about my Master's research. After I finished my undergrad in Canada, I [got] my masters at MIT. [The program] I was working on is just like Scratch -- it's a parameter you can use to create your own mobile phone apps. What I did was modify this so that you can actually program Amazon Alexa and use the machine-learning algorithms, or the AI, that's involved with Alexa and to program what you want her to do. 

I actually got to bring it into a classroom and students actually got to create their own Alexa skills. Slowly we're gonna bring it out to people and start beta testing with lots of different people.

Christy: Why do you think it is important for students to start learning AI and coding at a younger age? 

Jessica: I think it's super important. One of the reasons is because it's out there right now. You have all these home devices sitting in your home, and there's Siri that you can use, and there's all these machine-learning algorithms on social media. So, that could be your Facebook feed or on YouTube, deciding which videos to show you. There's also a lot of biases with these algorithms. 

Christy: What do you think is a good starting tool to create an AI? 

Jessica: I think for me, what really motivates me is finding a question that I'm interested in, doing something really creative or different or new. And then, going from either someone else's code, or looking online for tutorials, and figuring out how to make that. I think doing a tutorial -- there's tons of resources online that you can you can find. First doing a simpler tutorial, and then thinking of something I'm really interested in and building that, because if I'm not interested in it I probably won't finish the project. 

Christy: What do you think are some ways to help younger students learn AI?

Jessica: When I did the workshops with the Alexa skills for my masters, first we would [have] me teaching the very basics. I think one of the first things we did was have tutorials that were hopefully easy to follow, and then they can create and feel success by implementing these things that have already been done. Then, they can remix and change those however they want once they're finished. As our final project, we had them create something that they were interested in. We call this project-based learning. I think it can be really, really useful once people have the basic skills to let them explore and address problems.

Students: We want to ask Jessica if there's one key takeaway that you would want to leave with students for their future, what would it be?

Jessica: There's a couple different things. I know when I was young, when I was in elementary school and middle school, it was really hard for me especially because I just felt different. I wasn't interested in what most girls were interested in. I loved building things and creating new things and girls thought I was weird. So it was tough for me back in the day. But I think, as you grow up, things do get better and things change. Everything is subject to change and I really hope that all of you keep hoping and finding things that you're interested in. Just keep going, and also, if you have questions for me, feel free to reach out. Thanks so much for joining, it's been great talking with you all.

Watch Jessica’s full interview, here!

Create & Learn Monthly - Our Role Model of the Month, Jessica & More!

Happy 2020 everyone! To kick off the New Year, we are celebrating our Role Model of the Month, Jessica, who is in the MIT PhD program with an emphasis in AI (Artificial Intelligence). Her goal is to break some the the biases that come with automation, and encouraged us to follow our interests, no matter what. We are also happy to share some positive reviews from our parents, some exciting things happening with us here at Create & Learn, as well as the top Facebook post from our page this month. Check out our classes to see what everyone is talking about!

Role Model of the Month: Jessica

Jessica is currently working on her PhD at MIT, with a focus in AI (Artificial Intelligence). She's always had a passion for engineering and science, but felt discouraged as one of the few girls in her classes. Since then, it’s been her mission to encourage young people to follow their interests and passions, and break the social biases that tend to come with them. Learn more by reading her article!

Parent Reviews

We're excited to share some positive feedback from parents!

What's New

There are so many exciting things happening with us here at Create & Learn. Here's what's new!

As part of our celebration of the annual Computer Science Education Week, we delivered a series of FREE computer science classes to a handful of schools in the Bay Area in December. Students from grades 2-6 learned how to code their own creatively designed stories using Scratch. The students loved learning everything.

One of the principles said, "The kids were so excited when they were able to program their character to have motion! Equipping them with the skills to become coders is important because more and more jobs are requiring some level of coding as a prerequisite. Experiencing this non-traditional class setting is exciting and we are helping students to engage in the technological future."

Top Facebook Post

This month, a special feature about 9 successful women in science!

Learn more about scientists like scientist Gagandeep Kang, pictured above, and how she manages being one of the only women on her team. Read on and get inspired!

Do you enjoy reading articles like these? Follow us on Facebook to read more news like this and sign up for our fun computer science classes to learn more about the technologies and research behind these topics.

TechNews4Kids - Would You Like to Have Robot Arms?

Have you ever sat back and thought, what would it be like if I had an extra pair of hands? Robot arms might be the answer! In London, the Natural History Museum hosted its annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards, and the photos are spectacular. AI is a large part of our day, as well as what we expect to be an even bigger part of our future. However, can it be fully trusted? Read on to learn more in our latest Tech News 4 Kids newsletter! Join our classes to learn all about the latest technologies — coding, artificial intelligence, and more.

Robot Arms Offer a Helpful Hand

(Fast Company)

Photo: sergeyryzhov/iStock

We've all been there: juggling too many things, maybe even carrying in the groceries, where we wished we had an extra pair of hands to help us. In Japan, though the technology is still in its early stages, tech experts are working on creating robotic arms to help in assembly lines. Find out how this technology works, and how it would be to give them a try, here!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards

(News 4 Kids)

Source: © Yongqing Bao, Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Every year in London, wildlife photographers are celebrated for the amazing footage they capture, and 2019 did not disappoint. This year at the Natural History Museum, photographers showed off their findings, and some of them were 10 years old! Scroll through the stunning photos from this year's winners here.

AI is Great -- But How Much Should We Trust It?

(Science News)


AI (Artificial Intelligence) is part of our every day lives, and it looks like it will be for the foreseeable future. However, there are some data scientists that are wary of instantly trusting the results AI brings. What does this mean for us, and how can we use AI the smartest way possible? Find out here!

Love these articles? Check out Tech News 4 Kids to read more news like this, and sign up for our fun computer science classes to learn more about the technologies driving these innovations.

TechNews4Kids - First All-Female Spacewalk Makes History

An all-female spacewalk took place earlier this October, and it was out of this world! What does this mean for the future of astronauts? Our laptops have changed how we work, and the portable Mac that started it all just turned 30! Speaking of computers, AI just might help us predict earthquakes, but how? Find out in this week’s Tech News 4 Kids newsletter!

NASA (Finally) Had an All-Female Spacewalk

(New York Times)

NASA/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Jessica Meir and Christina Koch made history on Friday October 18th when they became the first all-female crew to walk space. Their mission was to replace a a power controller at the International Space Station, and the walk lasted 7 hours and 17 minutes. Find out all about it here, and why this was a large step for mankind.

How the Mac Portable - Now 30 - Changed Everything

(Fast Company)

Photo: Rama/Wikimedia Commons

The Mac Portable was presented 30 years ago as a battery-operated, portable computer that was just as good as your desktop. Though it was a major flop and didn't catch on, it inspired what we all know today as the laptop. Learn more about the fascinating history here!

Can AI Predict When an Earthquake Will Happen?


Not only that, can AI predict an earthquake long before it happens, so we have time to prepare? That's what seismologists are hoping they will be able to do. There have been many trials and errors along the way, but there is hope on the horizon. Learn more about what they are working on here!

Love these articles? Check out Tech News 4 Kids to read more news like this, and sign up for our fun computer science classes to learn more about the technologies driving these innovations.

TechNews4Kids - Why Your Kids Should Know About AI & How it Works

In this technological age, kids are growing up with phones and AI programs as the everyday norm. Why is it important that they understand how it all works? When it comes to sustainability, Abu Dhabi has found a way to turn art into sustainable energy. Speaking of eco-friendly ideas, there's a company working to stop us from using one-use cups, but how? Read all about it in this week’s Tech News 4 Kids newsletter!

Why Our Kids Should Know How AI Works

(Technology Review)

Everywhere we look there are phones, screens, and even cars that can diagnose themselves. AI is a big part of this, and it's important for our kids to understand how it works. There are many reasons for this, the most important being for their safety. But how would understanding AI do that? Learn more here!

Sustainable Art


Starlit Stratus rendering, by Sunggi Park (LAGI).

It gets hot in Abu Dhabi certain times of year -- 105-degrees-daily hot. Typically, people are forced to stay indoors while shopping, where air conditioning keeps the temperature reasonable. However, there are artists that specialize in energy-saving public art pieces, and they just might hold the answer to making things more sustainable. Find out what projects are underway, and how they work, here!

Can We Make Disposable Coffee Cups Reusable?

(Fast Company)

Photo: CupClub

Not unlike AI, it's become a habitual part of of our daily routine to pick up our coffee in a paper cup, and then throw it away later that day. This has become an environmental issue, but an architecture firm is looking to change that. They have developed Cup Club, where they can make reusing cups as easy as it would be to throw them away. Find out how they plan to do this here!

Love these articles? Check out Tech News 4 Kids to read more news like this, and sign up for our fun computer science classes to learn more about the technologies driving these innovations.

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