BOSTON (CBS) – Robots are joining a Boston high school classroom. It’s a unique adventure in learning, with an eye towards the future and what these robots can do is entirely up to the students.
“My name is Pepper. I’m a humanoid robot, and I’m 1.20 meters tall,” says Pepper the robot.
It’s the first one at Boston’s English High School in Jamaica Plain, and it’s a learning tool for the school’s robotics team and computer science students.
Pepper has the moves. It dances, fist bumps and plays a mean air saxophone, and it’s all because the young people have programmed it to do all those things.
The company that makes Pepper, SoftBank Robotics, is donating 50 of the robots to Boston Public high schools. “You’re trying to get students interested in STEM; science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” says Sean Reardon of SoftBank.
Pepper comes with an almost clean slate. Students do the work of bringing it alive. “Sometimes when it talks back to you, you think it’s a person, and it’s comfortable because she’s so friendly,” says 11th grader Alex Perez, a member of the schools robotics team.
Howie Horner teaches computer science at English High. “We have students now who are thinking about a career in robotics. We have students who are thinking about what it means to work with robots using math,” he says.
“It helps me a lot in my career. And my hopes are to combine technology with medicine,” says Angy Bedoya, another member of the robotics team.
Monday’s demonstration at English High kicks off computer science education week in the city. The hope is to have these robots in all Boston high schools by the end of the school year.