Texas Instruments (TI) has announced the TI-Innovator Rover, the company's first robotics solution for middle and high school students that makes learning STEM subjects a moving experience. Students can write programs on their TI graphing calculators that get Rover's wheels turning and their minds learning in a fun, interactive and hands-on way.
The Rover connects to the TI-Innovator Hub and either a TI-84 Plus CE or TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator that many students already have and drives interest and curiosity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. Students without any exposure to coding or robotics can get started by writing a basic programme to make Rover do things like draw, dance or even crash.
"We created Rover to demystify robotics and give students who might be intimidated by programming an easy on-ramp to learn to code," said Peter Balyta, Ph.D., President of TI Education Technology. "Given the sheer joy we have seen on students' faces as they learned to code during our testing phase, we are excited to see how Rover will inspire more young minds through an introduction to robotics."
Girls from Girls of Metropolitan Dallas took Rover for a test drive as part of a pilot programme with TI. "Normally, I'm really distracted when it comes to maths, but this was fun enough for me to pay attention," said Zamantha Romero, a freshman at Sunset High School. The girls used algebra to make their Rovers crash and geometry to make them follow a line. "I'd give the Rover an A+, because I really, really love using it," said Mia Gonzales, a sophomore at Bishop Dunne Catholic High School. "It's more interactive than what you would usually do in a regular classroom with math; it's hands-on, very visual, and fun and exciting at the same time."
Students can team up to use Rover and are encouraged to work collaboratively to explore different STEM concepts. Rover was built specifically for use in the classroom and includes a rechargeable battery, colour sensor, distance sensor, LED display, gyroscope and marker holder to trace on paper.
This calculator-controlled robotic car will be available for purchase in the United States and Canada later this fall and in Europe in early 2018.