Wanna borrow a robot? A Finch Robot (Wikimedia Commons/finchrobot.com)
Wanna borrow a robot?
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The Chicago Public Library has more than just books for borrowing. It now has a fleet of 500 robots that can be checked out.

The idea is to give Chicago residents of all ages a chance to dabble in the basics of computer coding. The gadgets, known as Finch Robots, were donated by Google Chicago and made the library the first in the nation to have them available for people to take home.

They can be coded to move, make noises, light up and even draw. Some of the programming can be done by children as young as 8 years old.

"We hope to inspire the next generation of technologists and computer scientists," Jim Lecinski, head of the Google Chicago office, said at a Saturday event announcing the program.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the partnership with Google will support the city's push to give residents better access to learning opportunities in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The robots were invented by a lab at Carnegie Mellon University. They are set up for use with more than a dozen of the most commonly used computer languages. Users hook the robots up to their home computer or laptops and download instructional tutorials from the company's website.

The robots will be kept at six of the library's locations. To make them more widely available, borrowers can request that they be sent to the library location of their choice.

"Getting students excited about computer science at the primary and secondary school level is critical," Lecinski said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why does Jim Lecinski believe that getting students excited about computer science at the primary and secondary school level is critical? What is special about this robot that could make it relevant to young students even in elementary school?

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COMMENTS (31)
  • sadonahc-Koc
    5/11/2014 - 04:50 p.m.

    I think their excuse "to get students excited about computer science" is stupid. It will get them excited, but it won't help them with anything at all. It will only make them lazier than they already are. The world is getting out of hand,thinking robots will help us.

  • manuela-Koc
    5/12/2014 - 12:50 a.m.

    They mad this because they want technology's I grow like 8 years of age u can us like a teen can in 3 years now we live with it no Matter what life is going to much of technology

  • NP30yankee
    5/12/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    I think borrowing a robot would be cool just to see how far technolgy has advanced especiallly the robot edition. If they cn perfect the behavior of robots then more and more people would love to have one and I beleive they aren't too far away from actually perfecting it.

  • amandad-
    5/12/2014 - 01:17 p.m.

    This article is about the library that has 500 Finch Robots. It takes place in Chicago. The robot does science, technology and math, drawing and lights up. The more students learn to use technology, the more experience they will have. I would like to borrowing the robot because it's cool.

  • bobbyb-
    5/12/2014 - 01:25 p.m.

    It will be great for the children to help them learn technology in math and science. It takes place in Chicago Public Library today. The Finch Robot can do everything like light up and draw, make noises and move. This is for all ages. They can learn from the robot.

  • galvinc-
    5/12/2014 - 01:38 p.m.

    This story is about a Chicago public library. to use a finch robots to help primary school students to use technology math and computer science .
    The robots were invented by a lab at Carnegie Mellon University .
    I would like a pet Robot for myself . They want them to use them at college .

  • orahf-
    5/12/2014 - 01:39 p.m.

    The story was about robots who were trying to help children learn better. It was at Chicago's public library that they had robots that people could borrow. I would like to have a robot because I will get very excited to have a robot. It is easier to learn with a robot when the children are young.

  • brady.q-
    5/12/2014 - 01:39 p.m.

    The story is all about a robot that you can borrow from the library. Some robots can help students to learn more in school and to use technology. I wasn't to borrow robot

  • morgank-Koc
    5/12/2014 - 02:08 p.m.

    I think that it is really cool you can check out a robot. People with no lets an go get a robot instead if ine. Also it's cool how advanced we are that we have robots now.

  • garrettA-4
    5/12/2014 - 09:02 p.m.

    The Chicago public library now has more than just books to check out. They have 500 robots you can check out for yourselves. The idea is too let the people of all ages see how far technology had gone. The robot can be coded to draw, move, make noises, and even light up. Some programming can be done up to kids 8 years old. I think this was a great idea to let kids and people explore the technology in robots today.

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