I remember programming turtle graphics in Logo when I was in high school. These days, students can learn basic computer science from a robot developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon.
Programmable with Java and Python, the bird-like bot runs on a 15-foot USB cable and comes with temperature and light sensors, a bump sensor, and a three-axis accelerometer that can be used as a mouse.
The machine has a four-color LED beak, speakers, and a pen mount in the tail for drawing capability. It can be programmed to act as an alarm clock or used in a variety of assignments available on its Web site. It's made of sturdy plastic, can survive falls from a table, and is portable in a backpack.
Lauwers launched a start-up called BirdBrain Technologies to produce The Finch and now sells it for $99 apiece. He says it has been tested in high school, university, and after-school programs.Check out The Finch in the video below.