[Edu-sig] rur-ple: pre-release of new lessons (long)

Douglas S. Blank dblank at brynmawr.edu
Thu Feb 2 19:29:08 CET 2006

On Wed, 2006-02-01 at 19:31 -0800, Dethe Elza wrote:

> Mixing RUR-PLE and Pyro sounds like a good idea to me.  My daughter  
> likes to push things past their limits (she's a good beta tester for  
> me), so if she was using RUR-PLE and found that it "unfolded" into a  
> bigger, more complicated, but more powerful world, I think that would  
> really get her involved.

Yes, I think it would be good to think about making it easy to move from
rur-ple to pyro.

> Does Pyro yet run natively on OS X (without requiring X windows/Gnome/ 
> fink)?

In a word, yes. It is still the case that if you want to use the
advanced 3D simulator (gazebo) you'll need X (I suspect that someone
will eventually write a front end to gazebo in native Mac). But, we now
have a simulator written in 100% Python that simulates vision, grippers,
and range sensors. You can see some images and the interface here:


> > Some of these points may be non-issues because RUR-PLE isn't  
> > attempting
> > to teach robotics. But what if it were? Some of these points we could
> > explore by making RUR-PLE talk to the Pyro 2D simulators (one is  
> > written
> > in pure-Python) and by having Pyro connect to the simulator in RUR- 
> > PLE.
> > I'd be interested in sharing lessons learned from that software  
> > which is
> > designed "for kids" versus "for young adults."
> Using robotics to teach programming, vs. using programming to teach  
> robotics.  Two sides of the same coin, IMHO.  I think you've raised  
> some good points to consider, but I know I'd like to see this  
> combination work out (especially if it runs on OS X).

Very well said. I hope we can discuss this further.

> > BTW, I use do use Pyro to teach cognitive science students how to
> > program. Questions of intelligence make a great way to motivate the
> > learning of programming, and of course Python is great for that. Would
> > young kids benefit from this same motivation?
> Not directly questioning their intelligence, but praising them for  
> being smart when they figure something out, yeah, that's a heady  
> motivator.

Actually, I meant that students can question where intelligence comes
from, and *that* motivates them to learn about robots. These questions
are subtle, and I don't think we have an answer. It doesn't
(necessarily) have anything to do with logic. It is akin to "what does
it mean to be alive?" and "how can non-living material give rise to
life?" How can intelligence come from non-intelligent things? These are
some of the great questions of our time. I think Python can help explore


> --Dethe
> "Any idea that couldn't stand a few decades of neglect is not worth  
> anything." --Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Douglas S. Blank       Computer Science
Assistant Professor    Bryn Mawr College
(610)526-6501          http://cs.brynmawr.edu/~dblank

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