How can we improve the way that a student
who is absent or cannot be in the classroom learn in school?
The answer: S-O-S: Substitute Online Student Robot a small, Wi-Fi and radio signal operated, affordable robot that allows the absent student to travel along with the class and learn even though the student cannot be physically present in the classroom in school.
➢ It can help students with medical limitations, including injuries or surgery requiring recovery in a hospital or at home, asthma, highly contagious diseases that require quarantine, allergies, chemotherapy, influenza, and other ailments, so that they can sit in on their classes while at home or in their hospital room.
➢ Students with allergies to certain chemicals could sit in another classroom and still participate in a science lab experiment.
➢ Special Needs students who can take advanced courses in their school, but who are not yet able to be physically in the classroom with other students, can participate more comfortably in a separate smaller size classroom. It can be used to help introduce a student, who has never been mainstreamed before, to the new class; thus, helping the student to know what to expect before he /she is actually mainstreamed.
➢ Home-schooled students could enhance their educational experience by attending courses at public or even private schools in their area.
The S-O-S is a robot made almost entirely out of LEGO® products and products made for use with LEGO® elements. Using Skype® on just about any tablet device and/or computer for the student with Internet access, the student is virtually in the classroom.
The S-O-S may not be as sophisticated as the more expensive robots that establish your physical presence in a distant location, but with an 18” x 12.5” x 10” body, a 360º turntable, and fitted with any tablet device with a camera, the S-O-S is both portable and affordable, while still being able to replicate some of the functions and serve the same basic purpose as more expensive robots. This new robot has the following features:
➢ The teacher (or a class monitor) control of the turning movements of the robot using an EV3 Infrared Beacon so he or she can point the robot to view any part of the classroom, giving the teacher control to focus on specific aspects of the classroom or other students.
➢ The student, at home, is able to control the robot’s arm movements to raise its hand to answer a question, and control light signals using a radio device called NXTBee®.
➢ The robot has “grasp” type hands to hold small, lightweight objects that is placed in its grip by the teacher or a classmate.
➢ It is easily adjustable to all sorts of tablet devices.
➢ Being portable, the S-O-S can be carried around in a case from class to class, or even taken on a school field trip (robot body can be detached from the turntable for light travel), using cellular data or Wi-Fi hotspot to access the Internet and Skype®.
The cost of making a S-O-S is about $300, if you have the LEGO® kits, if not $1200-$1300. That would fit any school’s budget and increase educational access for homeschooling families. The software for controlling the S-O-S, is actually free from LEGO® (the Retail Consumer versions) and is compatible on Windows and Mac OS.
With an affordable price, a portable smaller body, and easy access using any Internet connection, the S-O-S is a great way to allow students to learn even though they cannot be physically present in the classroom.
Specifications & Parts
Dimensions: 18”x12.5”x10” Weight: 4lbs.
(1) LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3 Kit (Retail/Consumer version)
Includes: (1) Intelligent Brick, (1) Infrared Sensor, (2) Color Sensors, (1) Infrared Remote Beacon, (2) Medium Servo Motors, and various LEGO® elements.
(1) LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT Kit (Retail/Consumer version) Includes:
Intelligent Brick, (1) NXT Servo Motor, (2) NXT Touch Sensors, and various
(1) LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT Intelligent Brick, (1) additional NXT Touch Sensor
(2) LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT Intelligent Bricks, (1) LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT Servo Motor, (3) LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT Touch Sensors
(3) Packs of Frame Beams (www.LEGO Education.com)
(1) MinuteBot Base – MINUTEBOT® - http://www.minutebot.com/minuteproducts/base/ or http://store.theproductfarm.com/minutebot-base-plate/
(10) NXT/EV3 Connector cables or mindsensors Flex-Cables® - http://
(2) 10 cm (5) 20 cm (3) 35 cm
(2) Dexter Industries NXTBee Pro®
Digi XBee® 60 mW radio. This unit has a range of 1.6 KM.
9 volt battery
(9) AA batteries or Optional: (3) LEGO rechargeable batteries and Chargers
Application - Skype® (free version)
Windows and Mac OS
NXT-G programming - LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT
EV3 programming - LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3
Building System - LEGO Technic®
Communication System - Any Internet provider
Any tablet device (iPad® Samsung Galaxy®) that uses the Skype® App
Any home computer with Internet & Skype®