Robots are gaining rapid traction in today’s industries. The number of operational industrial robot jobs increases by 14 percent annually, according to the International Federation of Robotics. This year alone, spending on robotics (and drones) is expected to reach about $128.7 billion U.S. The reason: robots offer the promise of improved productivity, greater efficiency, and accuracy while supporting several industries.
Advancements in technology offer benefits to healthcare, communication, travel, agriculture, military, security, and many other fields. For example, the application of robotics has allowed complex medical procedures to be analyzed, the work of dangerous construction projects to be safer, and the exploration of our universe to be possible.
One sector where robots and simulation technology has proven somewhat unexpected but extremely useful is in education. When used inside or outside the classroom, robotics and simulators can change the way students learn and help fill gaps in learning that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Here are a few examples of how robots are improving education for some students.
Elementary & intermediate education
One job robots are now providing is a form of virtual teaching to students who are unable to sit in a classroom. In New York, for instance, a second grader with critical, life-threatening allergies was unable to attend school because of his health. So, a four-foot-tall robot stepped into offer a “real school” experience for the student.
The robot provided lessons and an in-house video conferencing system, so the student could feel like he was still part of the classroom.
Students with specific requirements are also able to accomplish new levels of learning because of the specialized, one-on-one support of robots. With these technologies, kids with autism are learning communication and social skills. This is, in part, thanks to simulators that can introduce real-world situations in a non-threatening, virtual environment.
Individuals with severe physical weaknesses are also offered a constant companion and health monitoring. Robots can be processed to suit each child’s needs and comfort level, providing special education in an accessible form. Simulators have also offered a way for special education administrators to see the world from their students’ prospects, with hearing-impaired or blind simulations.
The simulated robot closely resembles the “behavior” of an actual robot. However, the simulator can also interact digitally with various scenarios over an online network. This lets students test and use robotics programs as a team and in a shared virtual scene.
Essentially, a robot simulator is a multi-faceted educational system. It provides a customized solution of software, hardware, and educational resources for application in classrooms. Using these user-friendly tools, students can learn to design, program, and control fully functional standards and robots that perform life-like automated tasks.
Simulators are also now used in some drivers’ education courses for high-school students. Students can feel what it’s like to be behind the wheel without the risks of being on the road. The aim is to provide a true-to-life experience, including what-if scenarios, without risking safety.
Simulation technology is also employed in several college programs, offering 360-degree, real-life scenarios and 3D projections of potential job situations. For law enforcement trainees, students’ split-second decision-making abilities are tested via simulators and virtual reality. These types of situations can include violent arguments or behind-the-wheel high-speed pursuits.
The benefit is that the ramifications of these decisions can also be immediately seen — but without any risk to others.
For medical students, simulators are also offering an exceptional method of training for crisis and emergency responses, including for ER cases and in surgeries. Additionally, to assist with the learning of complicated medical procedures (or even just injections), robots are being used as “stand-ins.” These robots can be programmed to provide evidence of human life, including breath and pulse.