Aside from my teaching load this semester (VR studio and Interactive Media), I have been helping out with one of the MDIT (Master of Design Innovation and Technology) course lately. The topic is Transhumanism – on robotics and AI (the past, the present, the future). This is a cross-university collaboration between RMIT and State University of New York (SUNY). For the first couple of weeks, the sessions with SUNY were ran via video conferencing – and a few weeks after that, SUNY students visited us here in Melbourne for a week to work on ideas on what they’ll be exhibiting at the end of the semester.
Two of the sessions were demonstrations on how to program the NAO – the little humanoid robots by Softbank Robotics. The software used was Choregraphe – which was mostly graphical programming. It’s got a little simulator in the software itself, so you don’t actually need the NAO robot to configure its actions.
The in-class discussions were insightful (especially on the topic of ethics in relation to robotics + AI). I thought it was an interesting blend between on-site and off-site collaboration between two universities, but I suppose we’ll need to see the outcome at the end of the semester to determine if this form of collaboration works well for a transformative student learning experience on both sides.