You can program a Star Wars robot at the library


The droids you’re looking for are in the D. H. Hill Library.

Representatives from Sphero, an app-enabled robotic ball that the Star Wars film droid BB-8 is based on, give a public talk and conduct a hands-on workshop for NC State students on Thursday, Feb. 16 in the D. H. Hill Library.

From 4-5 p.m. in the D. H. Hill Library Auditorium, Melissa Gomez, director of global education partnerships at Sphero, will describe how Sphero is being used in classrooms to teach robotics and programming in a talk entitled Robotics: Gateway to Coding and Creativity. She will discuss how a growing community of makers, students, instructors and parents are all learning together through play. Greg Garner and Mark Samberg of NC State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation will also present on their work creating engaging STEAM learning experiences for K-12 students and educators throughout North Carolina. The talk is free and open to the public.

Then, from 6-8 p.m. in the D. H. Hill Library’s Faculty Senate Chambers (West Wing), Garner and Samberg lead a hands-on workshop to program and activate the Sphero. In Get Rolling WIth Sphero: Code and Create, attendees will program the robot from their smartphones to complete a variety of games and challenges. The session will feature obstacle courses, relay races, and even a robot art competition. Challenges presented will be the same challenges used with makers, students, and in classrooms all over the world.

No programming experience is needed. The workshop is available only for NC State students, faculty and staff. There is a 24-person limit, and advance registration is required.

The Sphero is available to all NC State students through the NCSU Libraries Technology Lending Service.

Mark Samberg is the Technology Innovations Lead at the Friday Institute and the technical lead for the Massive Open Online Courses for Educators (MOOC-Ed) project. Greg Garner is the Design and Computational Thinking Lead at the Friday Institute, spearheading the institute’s work as’s official North Carolina Professional Learning Partner.