MSOE student builds interactive robot to help children learn

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Learning to read, write or do research can be sometimes challenging, even boring.  But a local engineering student helped come up with a way to make learning more fun!

Tim DeLeo designed a three-foot tall honey bee robot.  It can flap its wings and wiggle its abdomen, illustrating a bee’s waggle dance.

“The waggle dance is how the bees themselves communicate where food sources are,” said DeLeo.

There's also touchpad that asks questions and shows parts of a bee's body.

“The button pad on the front is a passive touchpad that allows them to navigate through different menus and select from questions.  For some of the smaller parts, like the mandibles, you press it and that LED light actually labels the part on the larger bee,” said DeLeo.

The robot was created as a project for the Milwaukee School of Engineering and SHARP Literacy.  As part of the first-grade curriculum, students who are in the SHARP program read the book "A Busy Bee."  The bee robot serves as an interactive learning tool to help them better understand bee anatomy and movement.

“It's part of the reinforcement of being able to see and hear and will reinforce the learning of the first-grade students,” said SHARP Literacy Executive Director Lynda Kohler.

On Wednesday, the kids got to interact with the robot for the first time, showing them that reading and research can be fun at the same time.

“I learned that they have five eyes and they make a lot of honey,” said Marcos Balderas, a student at Blessed Sacrament School.

The honey bee robot will be on display for kids to use at the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University.