Dong Xu, introducing kids to the world of robotics
Dong Xu. [Photo/WeChat account: hefeigaoxinfabu]
Dong Xu is a co-founder of iHammer Robot Technology, a company which specializes in teaching schoolchildren robotics and has 13 branches in Hefei, East China's Anhui province.
Since 2015 when iHammer was set up, around 40,000 students in total have learned in its schools how to make a robot from scratch by first building a frame, then writing a program, wiring a circuit, assembling all components, and then finally testing it.
Unlike building things with Lego blocks, the robotics process involves a number of industrial skills that will make kids acquire abilities that can benefit them for life, such as innovation and research, thinking independently, keeping confident, as well as working in a team, said Dong.
In July 2019, iHammer's team won the world championship of the "Rapidly Manufactured Robot Challenge" section at the 23rd RoboCup, an international robotics competition regarded as the largest one in the world. The "iHammer Go" team was the only team from China that advanced to the finals, with the average age of all team members being under 14.
When studying at University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Dong had a keen interest in robots and was a core member of the school's robotics club. A robot that he designed with schoolmates won "the Best Technique" prize for its excellent ball throwing performance at RoboGame, an annual robot contest at the university. By winning this prize, he received an opportunity to study robotics further in laboratories.
Later, Dong went to Ningxia in Northwestern China as a volunteer teacher to popularize robotics education. "I could see in those children's eyes their thirst for knowledge and science, and that inspird my determination to do something for kids," he said.
Last July, Dong donated money to USTC to award volunteer teachers and support their work in teaching robotics. He also plans to launch online classes to bring more kids to the world of robotics.