by Edwin Kee
What happens when a professor has too much time on his hands? Why, he thinks up of different ways to make the world better with his thoughts and creations, and Pramod Abidchandani alongside a trio of Drexel undergraduates have worked together to come up with a robot that is so easy to program, even a first-grader is able to do it without throwing a tantrum. Oh yeah, they are also easy on the bank account, too. Known as the LocoRobo, it was built out of his own frustration with robots.
by Todd Bookman
With a $250 robot and simple-to-use software, LocoRobo hopes to launch the next generation of science and technology experts.
The nonprofit is currently based inside a lab at Drexel University, where engineering professor Dr. Pramod Abichandani, along with undergraduates Zachary Haubach, Kyle Levin and William Fligor, spent two years developing the device and its software.
It comes with lesson plans and educational materials that can introduce beginners to robot technology. Movement can be controlled through an app with simple touch-screen direction; more advanced users can write code.
“LocoRobo allows you to create this really hands-on experience … an experiential hands-on education,” he said.
by Juliana Reyes
Robots haunted Pramod Abichandani while he worked on his doctoral thesis.
“There were so many bottlenecks in my thesis because of those damn robots,” he said late last week, during in an interview at his lab in Drexel’s Bossone Research Center.
Instead of focusing primarily on his goal (developing algorithms for how driverless vehicles could operate without colliding), the Drexel professor frittered away time programming robots to use in his research — a complicated, user-unfriendly, expensive process.
“Those damn robots.”DREXEL PROFESSOR PRAMOD ABICHANDANI
That’s why Abichandani, with a team of three Drexel undergrads, builtLocoRobo, a low-cost ($250) robot that can be programmed wirelessly in a pinch — through a mobile app for beginners or through various programming languages for developers. (Something comparable for beginners would be a LEGO robotics kit that goes for about $350 and which Abichandani said has “the worst programming support ever.”)
by Lauren Hertzler, Staff Writer at Philadelphia Business Journal
Pramod Abichandani wants every school district in the United States to have a solid robotics program. LocoRobo is his key to making that dream a reality.
Officially founded in August, LocoRobo is a nonprofit educational robotics company formed by Drexel University professor Abichandani and a group of his students.
By design, LocoRobo is hands-on and caters to novice learners as well as the more advanced. Ringing in at a cost of about $250, LocoRobo offers a modern, cutting-edge robotics kit and a technology-rigorous learning experience through educational material.
by Rachel Kremen
Another educational robot for children has entered the arena: LocoRobo. The basic version of the bot features ultrasonic sensors, differential drive, lithium ion batteries, LED lights, and a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) dongle for downloading code. The more expensive version of the robot also includes motor controllers, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope. Based on the Atmel ATmega32U4 micro controller, the both bots are Arduino compatible.
Drexel University professor Pramod Abichandani and a team of three undergraduate students have developed LocoRobo, a low-cost robot capable of being wirelessly programmed with minimal to no effort. Born out of his own frustrations with bots, Abichandani aspires to advance programming and robotics education for everyone — from first-graders to experienced Makers — by combining a world-class programming ecosystem with a high-quality device.
by Joe Garofoli
Angel investor money is pouring into Silicon Valley, but only a sliver of that wealth is going to women-owned and African American owned startups.
Investors and entrepreneurs say it’s not overt racism or sexism that’s behind the disparity. Instead, they say, the cause is rooted in the nation’s wealth gap, which is manifested in the who-you-know, where-you-went-to-school culture of the business world.
And right now, they say there aren’t enough bridges between the valley’s deep pockets and young companies led by women, African Americans or Latinos.
“The challenge has been trying to get in front of people,” said Ofo Ezeugwu, the 22 year-old African American CEO of Whose Your Landlord, which lets college students rate campus housing options and allows landlords to post directly to students. “If you give me the opportunity to get in front of someone, I’ll shine.”
by Diane Mastrull, Inquirer Columnist
It would seem to anyone with a mastery of grammar that Ofo Ezeugwu blew it with the naming of his company, WhoseYourLandlord.com.
That certainly was the reaction of his freshman English professor at Temple University when he visited a table Ezeugwu was manning on campus to promote his landlord-rating website.
“I know I taught you better than this,” Ezeugwu recalled James Mellis telling him. The name should be Who’sYourLandlord, teacher told former student.
But that would be missing the point, Ezeugwu explained to Mellis and, last week, to me.
“We use the possessive form of who because we’re giving renters ownership of their situation by putting housing in their hands,” Ezeugwu said.
The idea started, as so many rental experiences do, with mice and cockroaches. But in a good way.