Students program Nao robots for professional project

BROOMFIELD - Tanner Brohm and Jake Roberts are two teenagers students who definitely love their part-time jobs.

"You know, I am a high school student and I am being paid to program robots," Brohm, a senior at Skyline High School, said. "It's kinda my dream."

They are part of a program called the Innovation Center which connects students interested in performing real-world programs in collaboration with local business and organizations. Saturday, they programmed two humanoid-like robots called Nao to perform at Flatiron Crossing mall.

"The Nao robot was something that I had seen before and I've seen the potential that it has," Roberts said. "I wanted to see what I can do with it."

They programmed the robot to talk to the crowd and deliver a message for egg farmers.

"We're here with the Colorado Egg Producers today and we're using those same skills, the walking, talking, dancing, and just the movements in general to get people to be interested in this whole area," Brohm said.

Roberts and Brohm programmed their robots named Steve and Phoenix to perform the chicken dance.

"My boss comes up to me and goes alright here you go, they're $8,000. Don't break them," Brohm said.

Brohm says they also use the robots to connect with students in special needs classes and for those learning English.

"They speak 17 different languages and we're using them to really enforce academic language," Brohm said.

At the mall, Roberts says the robots draw people because they just look cool.

"We get a lot of little kids and then we also get some of the technology-drawn adults," Roberts said.

The Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools was made possible as part of a $16.6 million Race to the Top Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

"I never thought I would be working with egg farmers specifically, especially with robots," Roberts said.

That's why Brohm says they love their jobs.

"I honestly don't know anywhere else that I would be able to work with these robots and do anything like this," Brohm said.

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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