By Luke Voogt
The AI takeover has begun at Matthew Flinders Secondary College, with students teaching a cute little robot – dubbed Charlie – to walk, talk and dance.
Charlie remained under human control – for now – as students Jess Griffiths and Bailee Adamson choreographed its latest moves.
“Once you get used to it, it’s pretty easy,” said Year 8 student Jess on Monday, as she animated Charlie from a laptop.
“It feels like he’s a real person.”
Gordon TAFE lent the robot to Matthew Flinders and eight other schools for a choreography competition, ‘Do the robot NAO’, earlier this year.
Over a few months, IT students programed the 58cm robot to perform a 30-second dance, with Matthew Flinders winning the competition.
Charlie – a French-designed Nao humanoid – can recognise human faces and speech.
“He’s just like having another friend,” said Year 9 student Bailee,” except you can make him do whatever you want.”
Although Charlie was still mastering communication, replying to the girls requests to dance with, “sorry, I don’t know how to speak Chinese”.
Later, the robot took a tumble as it busted some moves.
“At times it can be confusing,” admitted Bailee.
The Gordon’s Mardi Spittle said the ‘Do the robot NAO’ challenge gave students a chance to see their coding skills come to life.
“It’s a great way to get them enthusiastic and engaged about future careers in the science and IT sector.”
The robots are now are an integral part of learning experience in Gordon IT courses, she said.