Roamer-Too can have many different behaviours.
"Behaviour" is the Roamer's equivalent of software. Different behaviours allow the students to learn and do different things. They help create rich learning environments called microworlds. By exploring these worlds students can explore ideas and gather factual knowledge, but not as isolated and decontextulised information. Instead they acquire knowledge with an understanding of the ideas and underpinning concepts.
In RoamerWorld teachers or students can create behaviours. This can be part of an activity or creation of one.
One feature that helps create exciting new microworlds is the ability for the robot to speak. For example, instead of students learning how to program the robot, they explore it. When they press buttons it guides them to an understanding of how to make it work.
The Roamer can ask questions, give answers, set challenges, provide information relevant to tasks, respond to students actions, give tips and hints, or it simply tells you its tired and needs its batteries recharging.
Using the Speech Module in RoamerWorld teachers and students can create dialogues for the robots. Or you can add sound effects. If you make a robot lion you might as well get it to roar like one.
Roamer has two modes of speech: the first of these is Soap Box where the robot stays still and speaks (this includes playing music). The second mode is Walk and Talk. In this mode Roamer can move, turn and execute other commands while it plays the audio file (speaking, sound effects or music).
The new Roamer continues the tradition of Classic Roamer: it does not have a character. It is not a bee or a bus. What Roamer is depends on the student's imagination. The shape of the robot provides an amorphous sculptural backdrop for their creativity.
The shape has an elongated section, which emphasises the angle of turn. This also provides the robot with a direction. Whether it's a 'nose' or a 'tail' depends on the character design.
Changing the appearance of Roamer is a way of engaging students. In the activity My Pet Dog students have to decide what makes a dog a dog. Their creation is not dog, but a robot that makes you think 'dog'. This compliments the task of programming the robot to behave like a dog.
The original robots were floor robots. The reason for this was not because they were big, but because Papert recognised the importance of Playing Turtle. Modern neuroscience has verified his intuition about the relationship with our bodies and minds.
In the mid nineties robots migrated from floor to table and the importance of Playing Turtle was seriously diminished. The practical logistics of using desktop robots has proven itself, but as activities like the Solar System show it is still important and valuable to use the robot in its original habitat from time to time.
The Roamer is 20cm long and 15.5 wide. This makes it easy for young children to pick up and ideal for running on the table or the floor.
The Classic Roamer traveled at one speed. The new Roamer goes much faster or slower. You can program the robot to travel at different speeds at different times. Again this offers more scope for activities.
You can also change the amount of push or pull the Roamer exerts. This adds the capacity for the robot to engage in several science activities.
The new Roamer is far more accurate in its movement than the Classic Roamer. It is probably a contender for the most accurate educational robot in the world. You can calibrate the motion of the robot to take into account discrepancies that arise from the type of surface the robot runs on.
You can fit a Pen Module into the Roamer. This enriches Roamer with the Logo pen up and pen down commands.
Combine with the accuracy feature and the robot can engage in many of the original Turtle Graphic (geometry) activities that were beyond the capability of Classic Roamer.
Roamer's Base Platform has a sensor in-built. This is incorporated into some of the behaviours. Although students can program it they do not have to for it to be useful. Some behaviours take advantage of it, using it to add new dimensions to a microworld.
Roamer's Base Platform also has in-built an output. Like the input students can program it or it is simply used to enhance the behaviour of Roamer and the features of a microworld.
You can create complete new behaviours using the Activity Generation Module in RoamerWorld. You can also make minor modifications, particularly to the Standard Roamers. These have four user keys that allow you modify their basic behaviour. If you made the Roamer into a car you might want the students to blow a horn or turn on the headlights. Or perhaps you want to lift the pen up or down.
Roamer is not a toy. Valiant Technology has been making educational robots longer than anyone else in the World. They have put their 25 years of experience into ensuring this robot survives the rigours of regular classroom use.
The Classic Roamer was designed two decades ago. Its battery power system now seems antiquated. However, the Lantern Batteries were selected for a reason. You need a battery to provide enough energy to last long enough to get you through the day without needing to recharge.
This same set of criteria applies. Except battery technology has improved dramatically over the last twenty years. The special high capacity battery system for the new Roamer should last about one week of reasonable use without charging.
You could program Classic Roamer with 50 commands. In many cases this was sufficient. Not however, if you programmed the robot to play music. By comparison Roamer-Too has an enormous 1000 kB of memory.
If just after you had pressed GO you realised that you had programmed Classic Roamer incorrectly or that the robot was in the wrong position, you had limited capability of stopping it. Roamer-Too has a Stop button, which will stop the robot immediately.
Roamer-Too is a new product. We have spent many years researching and developing the educational and technological ideas that support it. The features mentioned above and the ideas presented in this web site are simply a beginning. Keep returning and you will see a steady stream of exciting innovation.