What is STEM Education? PCS Robotics!

PCS Robotics for STEM Education

Image of the Brain - the PCS Robotics Micro Controller

The Brain - The PCS Robotic Micro-Controller

This week, we’ll take a minute to highlight the PCS Brain and its versatility.  PCS Robotics features the PCS Brain and Cortex, our own  microcontroller and programming software designed specifically with the educator in mind.   Three levels of programming in the Cortex empowers students from the elementary level to high school, and the open architecture of the device makes it a perfect complement for university and hobbyist applications.

From an educator’s perspective, we wanted the Brain to be easy to use and flexible

– that’s why it has physical hooks that allow it connect to fischertechnik, LEGO, K’NEX, VEX, Erector etc. You can even bolt it on to R/C  hobby systems. Educators working in technical education will often have a lot  of legacy materials in their store room – kits from LEGO, fischertechnik, VEX,  etc. – and the Brain can bring new life to them.

The PCS Cortex Programming Software - Visual Logo

The PCS Cortex Programming Software - Visual Logo

Three levels of programming prepare students for real world programming challenges. The Cortex, the software that drives the Brain, was designed for educational applications as well. Level 1 is a drag-and-drop, simple-to-use environment that is appropriate for any beginner whether they be hobbyists wanting a simple solution or elementary students just starting out in robotics.   Level 2 is a text based version of LOGO, we call it PCS LOGO and it was designed to incorporate some attributes of the C language to prepare students for low level programming as they become more advanced. Level 3 is PCS Simple C, designed to migrate students into an introductory C environment, preparing them for the final step when they graduate to a full blown Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for C such as AVR Studio.

Cover of the Academy of Engineering Book 2: Power Transfer

Academy of Engineering Book 2: Power Transfer

Finally, besides our educator friendly hardware and software,

PCS has developed 11 volumes of STEM curriculum

(check out a few here) that address mechanical engineering, robotics, electronics, and applied mathematics as well as hundreds of other activities and challenges for educators utilizing robotics in the classroom.  In a nutshell, PCS loves Robotics!

PCS Robotics is Good for Business

For all of our shareholders following the PCS story, you should know that the business of robotics is exploding, and its applications in education are extraordinary since it is a natural platform for embedding science, technology, engineering, math and 21st century skills. Here are some quick statistics on educational robotics:

Markets for educational robotic kits at 541,000 units in 2007 are anticipated to reach 35.8 million units by 2014.
— Educational and Entertainment Robot Market Strategy, Market Shares, and Market Forecasts, 2008-2014
Wintergreen Research

First LEGO League, a major robotics competition, hosted over 19,134 teams worldwide with over 212,000 students in 2011. There are over 100 robotics competitions annually.

Boy Scout officials expect at least 10,000 of the nation’s 2.7 million Boy Scouts to earn the recently announced BSA Merit Badge in Robotics this year.

Science Olympiad, conducted in over 14,000 schools nationwide, includes a Sumo Robotics division now for students.

The United States now has an official National Robotics Week the purpose of which is celebrate the US as a leader in robotics technology development, educate the public about how robotics technology impacts society, to advocate for increase funding for research, and to inspire students of all ages to pursue careers in robotics and other STEM fields. The third annual National Robotics Week (NRW) was just completed – April 7-15, 2012.  Check out our PCS Center for STEM Education to read about what our students did during NRW.

PCS sees robotics as one of our big wins in the coming year,

and is working hard to expand our offerings and increase revenues in this area. For example, a one day sale in January resulted in over $30,000 in PCS robotics kit sales – it was a great day and indicates just a glimmer of what is possible as we grow.  Check out our Robotics Educator Package, our PCS Robotics site for extreme applications, and our Academy of Robotics – CLASSROOM and AFTERSCHOOL  to see what all the excitement is about.