Meet Astro and Cookie–they don’t eat much and they won’t mess up your house. They will, however, bark and sit and nod their heads, and maybe even roll over!

The star attractions at our table; note the colored “bone” used to give commands
to the two puppies

Last Friday, Astro and Cookie–and their human handlers of course–were invited to come play with the elementary students at El Montecito School, as part of their Techsploration Day. Twelve groups of ELMO students came to visit the robot puppies one by one, and everyone saw just how easy it is to write code and have fun!

Four of our high school engineering students (Jake, Caleb, Tys, and Sarah Jane) guided the El Montecito students through a ten-minute crash course in robot programming. Our students asked the younger ones what they wanted each puppy to do…

Sit up?


Nod its head?

Blink its eyes?

Say what color was in front of it?

Roar like a T-Rex?

Jake and Caleb show the younger students how Astro receives his coded instructions

After writing in this command, the students then included some sort of trigger in the code, again asking the younger ones what that trigger should be…

Show the puppy a specific color?

Pat it on the back?

Press the buttons on the front?

Sarah Jane explains the finer points of Cookie’s
inner workings

In just a few minutes, the older students were able to write the program described, all shown in full color as it was being done. It downloaded instantly via Bluetooth, and the students could see the outcome. Astro ran on the spot, and Cookie nodded approvingly. Astro sat up when he saw red, and Cookie showed off by naming any of four colors shown to her.

This simple code 1) waits for the color green to be shown to the sensor, 2) plays
the sound file “Dog bark 1”, and 3) runs the motor to raise the head

Sarah Jane, Jake, Caleb, Tys, and Mr. Meadth (rear)
Astro and Cookie (front)

Many thanks to Tim Loomer, Colette Crafton, and all the staff at El Montecito for receiving us, and running a highly successful Techsploration Day. The rain couldn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, and it was a delight to see the meaningful collaboration between the two Christian schools.