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Three Trends That Could Make Robotics Fun for Your Kids

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Robots

The field of robotics is growing faster than ever, and while the robots of today are more specialized than the all-purpose automatons that science fiction authors imagined decades ago, they are no less prevalent. The influence of machines extends to every corner of our lives, and all signs indicate that 2019 will be the biggest year yet for robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).

Vacuuming, folding laundry, carrying luggage, driving—all of these tasks can be delegated to robots specially designed for those purposes. Applied intelligently, automation can help us be more productive, more creative, and more available to spend time with friends and family.

Of course, these brilliant technological creations can’t build themselves (at least, not yet). The future of robotics will soon be inherited by our youngest and most tech-savvy generation—the children that are growing up with personal assistants like Alexa and small robots like Roombas.

Given how effortlessly they operate these devices, it can be easy to assume that children know all there is to know about the field. But operating and understanding are two very different things. To ensure that the future of robotics is in good hands, we want to make the science behind the devices more accessible and fun for kids. Toward that goal, let’s explore three trends we’re seeing in 2019 that could make your kids more interested—and invested—in robotics.

Hobbyist Robotics and STEM Camps Are on the Rise

With hobbyist robotics becoming more popular than ever, kids are looking for ways to meet and work with other kids who share their interests. Organizations such as iD Tech Camps, a summer computer camp program, are growing rapidly. In 2019, iD Tech will host summer tech programs across 150 national and international campus locations for kids of ages 8–18. Thousands of like-minded, enthusiastic young people will be devoting their summers to discovering new technologies and building valuable teamwork skills that they’ll use for the rest of their lives, regardless of the career paths they take.

As if the pursuit of knowledge weren’t enough, many robotics programs also come with some serious incentives, such as participation in international robotics competitions, college scholarships, and cash‑prize competitions.

Kids Are Influencing Technology Just as Technology Is Influencing Kids

Whether they realize it or not, automation and AI are already a large part of children’s everyday lives. Nearly all smartphones feature AI in the form of virtual assistants, which are also being rapidly integrated in smart speakers, fitness trackers, and many other devices. As a result, kids have more daily interaction with technology than any previous generation and, from this experience, will go on to shape AI and robotics more dramatically than any of their predecessors.

In light of this, more and more parents are discovering that their participation can help foster a positive, creative relationship with technology. Building robots can be a great activity for parents and kids to do together, getting the whole family involved in the hands-on world of coding.

A good example of someone who has benefited from and influenced technological advancements can be seen in 12-year-old Rohan Agrawal. He recently built a robot that delivers snacks in offices, demonstrating how robotics can exist everywhere on the spectrum of the ordinary to the fantastical. Robots can fulfill an interesting purpose while completing simple jobs.

Opportunities in the Fields of Robotics and AI Are Booming

Robots and AI are already in high demand in 2019. Just last month, a Japanese hotel, which opened in 2015 with a staff of robots, fired half of its robotic staff because of complaints received regarding job performance. Guests said that the robots were annoying, and the human staff often had to work overtime when robots stopped working mid-shift and needed to be rebooted. This example, among many others, illustrates that, though the field of robotics is more mature than ever, there are untold opportunities for improvement that young minds can pursue.

Children interested in learning robotics and AI have an exciting future before them. From the surge in STEM camps across the world to the increase in college scholarships and the rise of STEM careers, the road ahead is bright and, well, automated.

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