When BirdBrain Technologies founder Tom Lauwers was in grad school at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute he was troubled to learn that the number of students enrolled in computer science programs was dropping, and dropping fast. Why? Young students weren’t getting engaged with CS in school, missing the chance—and the training—to be drawn into science and engineering-related study in college.
For Tom, the way to reverse this trend was obvious: send in the robots. Part of Tom’s research as a grad student was to look at ways to integrate robotics into education. Aside from being fun, robotics is ideal for teaching STEM skills because it combines engineering, programming, and design, all while enabling students to take a hands-on, maker-based approach to learning.
It’s from this starting point that Tom spun out BirdBrain Technologies and began building and selling programmable robots and robotic kits for use in K-12 environments. BirdBrain’s products use familiar craft materials, common robot components, and instructional supports to help students bring a robot to life and control it using standard programing languages. They can be integrated into any curriculum and used to engage students from kindergarten to college.
The affordability, flexibility and effectiveness of the BirdBrain solution has been a huge part of the company’s success and rapid growth. Today, BirdBrain products are deployed in 5000+ schools and 40+ countries.
Despite the progress, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the fast growing Pittsburgh-based team, which is bullish on their mission to bring robotics to all students, everywhere. We are thrilled to be working with the BirdBrain team on their next phase of growth and excited to be a part of the robot revolution!