XCORP 2014 announces a new product line for its educational offerings: Empower Mats: Tools to empower students who are blind or visually impaired to participate in competitive robotics programs.
Robotics is a great way to introduce youth to the principles of mechanical engineering, computer science and artificial intelligence. Robotics has helped thousands of students develop their creative problem solving, collaboration, and teamwork skills while having fun in the process.
Youth with visual disabilities, however, have been at a disadvantage because most products are designed with only sighted youth in mind. The goal of Empower Mats is to give youth with a variety of disabilities an opportunity to participate in mainstream robotics.
- Read our Project Goals & Progress Page for the Latest Updates
- Contact us if you would like to test our mats.
What's different about Empower Mats? Our creative line of robotics training mats will provide tactile guidance to locations and paths, with braille descriptions where needed. The goal is to create a mat that allows all students to participate without interfering with the robots of other teams.
These innovations are made possible through a grant from a national foundation and in collaboration with The Maryland School for The Blind, TechBrick Education, LET'S GO Boys & Girls, and other national institutions.
Empower Mats will create new opportunities for students who are blind or visually impaired to be involved in STEM activities, possibly opening new doors for them to pursue STEM careers. It is likely this technology will assist students with other disabilities and sighted students as well.
Our vision is to develop accessible programing environments for EV3 and similar systems. In the near future, we hopeto involve students who are blind or visually impaired in FIRST LEGO League, Dash & Dot, BeeBots, SumoBots, and similar table-top robotics challenges.
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