18Loop is rooted in an Executive program that I took at MIT over a year ago. The class was focused on Artificial Intelligence and its potentially far-reaching implications.
One of the subject areas in MIT’s AI class was robotics. Robots and AI go hand in hand and stay in touch via “robot telepathy” (otherwise known as WiFi). Ten years ago, it was considered a Star Wars fantasy to have a robot as a friend or companion. Not anymore.
Our friends at Anki have hired Pixar designers to help with the animation and expression of Cozmo, our Robotic Cheer device.
We think Cozmo is more like R2D2 than C3PO (to keep with the Jedi theme). Coz can recognize faces, speak basic words, navigate obstacles and feed on his blocks. The robot is a toy, albeit a powerful one that can be successfully manipulated by children in the 8-12 year age range.
- There are three options for programming Cozmo:
- the Sandbox, which is very basic
- Constructor, for finer manipulation of the hardware
- and the Software Development Kit or SDK for advanced Python-based programming.
I myself am working on my Python knowledge so I can keep up with what we hope is eventually a growing 18Loop tech staff.
Virtual Reality, like robotics, has science fiction roots and has likewise recently become viable as an entertainment and therapy option for the public. Our Virtual Comfort program deploys Oculus devices and builds on the thesis that VR can be a successful subcomponent of a treatment regimen for children with cancer.
We are not a medical company and don’t offer what we would describe as treatments, but we are happy that science agrees with our belief that our Robots and VR headsets can be measurably beneficial.
Pediatric oncological patients are our focus because studies indicate that there are children who can benefit from the types of technology that we have studied and plan to deploy. Our low income kids will get free headsets and robots, and for the purposes of our initial Pilot versions of these programs, all we ask for in return is feedback that we can record to get donations to further our work and understand our impact.
We hope you will stay with us on our journey to make each cancer kid’s recovery easier, shorter and more successful. 18Loop will keep you updated on Robotic Cheer and Virtual Comfort. This spring, you’ll begin to see pictures, video and stories on this site and on social media. Let’s all continue to do some good with technology!