drone in sky viewed from below

Robotics and Cybernetics

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Children and Robots
Have you noticed that children take to computers naturally, just as if they were any other toys? Many adults struggle with computers while kids are naturals. Who knows what computer-related inventions will develop in the future as a result of a child's lifelong relationship with one? 

Logo is a programming language invented at MIT. Many people might be familiar with Logo's introduction which included programming the turtle to move forward and right in any path across the floor. The turtle then migrated to the screen to teach programming.  Today, Scratch, one of many programming languages, is used to create stories, games and animations and is designed for 8-16 year olds. 

Here is a link for teaching kids to code

An Hour of Code teaches basic coding through a tutorial with Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen.  Other coding tutorials for beginners can be found here too. 

Apply the same concept to robots. Nowadays, children can go into any national toy chain and buy a robot. Not only can they buy a robot, they can build a robot. The Lego Company has made popular children's toys for years—including robotic kits. The kits still combine plastic building blocks, but now include wheels and motors, switches, infrared sensors, and computer programming. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab holds a design competition each year.

Introduction to Robotics
Terrapin Software
utilizes Logo technology and merges it with robotic controls. Instead of a turtle, Terrapin's kit includes a racecar (Pro-Bot) that can be programmed.



A drone is an unpiloted aircraft or spacecraft, or a flying robot. Historically drones have been used by the military, but current usage has expanded from wedding photographers snapping photos of weddings from above, to consideration of parcel delivery by UPS and Fedex.  It appears the agriculture industry is embracing the use of drones to transmit photos of crop growth or to scout out which fields need extra spraying or to check the irrigation conditions.  With this information full fields won't have to be sprayed with chemicals. Data from drones is easily transmitted to an iPad in the form of 3-D images, thermal readings or other observations. How a drone might become assistive technology remains to be seen. *Content about agriculture taken from Newsela, Associated Press 7.23.15 Mary Clare Jalonick. 


Just as robots can be programmed to perform certain tasks, the development of cybernetics is intended to allow humans to perform tasks through their nervous systems and computer transmission. Imagine having a microchip implanted in the human body that would send and receive information via the nervous system and a computer-even over the Internet!

Did you know that the information contained in nerve impulses could be digitally recorded and re-used again? It's a matter of degree. Sound like science fiction? Fiction may turn into reality as scientists all over the world work out the details. We are just learning how to manipulate this technology, however, studies and experiments have been ongoing for years in the hopes that one day a person could regain sense or movement.

Cybernetics would enable someone with a spinal cord injury or a disease to move muscles previously cut off from his or her central nervous system. Successful development could restore sight or fine motor functioning. Taken a bit further, pain, emotion, thought, and memory also could be harnessed. Humans could potentially tap into memory banks of powerful computers! 

It really sounds way out, but it actually follows a logical methodology recognized by the scientific community, so while we won't hold our collective breath, expect to see this field greatly expanded in the future-along with its attendant controversy!

Cybernetics can be studied at the University of Reading in the UK.  

Note: Infinitec Inc. does not endorse or recommend the above-mentioned products and has no liability for the results of their use. Infinitec Inc. has received no consideration of any type for featuring this product on this Web site. Images are used with permission. The information offered herein is a summary; it is not comprehensive and should be carefully evaluated by consumers with the assistance of qualified professionals. The intention of Infinitec Inc. is to offer consumers a brief overview of various assistive technology devices and their applications.