Developing STEAM Learning Tools Loti-Bot and Blue-Bot for RM

How we are helping shape the next generation of coders

We're working alongside RM Education to develop a range of intuitive apps that enhance the functionality of their educational tools. Together, we are fusing purposeful hardware with intelligent software for products that inspire.

Making STEAM Learning Fun and Accessible for All

Screenshot from the LotiBot app showing the blockly screen

STEAM learning stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. It is an all-encompassing term that groups foundational subjects in the school curriculum - subjects teachers often struggle to engage their students in. RM Education is on a mission to change this.

Through the development of tools like Loti-Bot, Log-Box, and Blue-Bot, RM Education aims to make STEAM learning more fun and engaging, increasing its accessibility to students across multiple learning levels and styles.

Brightec’s Role in Supporting STEAM Learning

RM Education tasked us with two unique challenges: to develop a new app for Loti-Bot (Oti-Bot’s smaller cousin) and re-write the Blue-Bot app. Having worked with RM Education before on an accompanying app for Oti-Bot, their high-tech robot designed to KS2 education, we were well-versed in the goals and objectives of the client and excited to get started.

LotiBot Illustration

Beginning with Loti-Bot

Following on from Oti-Bot’s release, we began work on Loti-Bot - a smaller STEAM robot for young learners.

Loti-Bot is the younger cousin to Oti-Bot. With a smaller design and simpler controls, Loti-Bot is the ideal STEAM learning tool for beginner learners. The robot was developed as a drawing robot, so students can place a pen on the top and command the robot to move around a space drawing shapes.

We were tasked with designing an app in a similar style to Oti-Bot but with a fresh new look. The app had to differentiate Loti-Bot from Oti-Bot while having enough similarities that students could tell the robots were related.

Project Kick-off

At the start of the project, the Loti-Bot robot was still in development, so we began by creating a small test app that could access all of the robot’s features on one screen. This allowed us to develop the main public app while the manufacturers tested Loti-Bots functionality during production. Working side-by-side in this way helped streamline the development process and ensured any issues could be ironed out early on.

App Connectivity

One feature of the Loti-Bot app would be a screen where students could drag in blocks to instruct the robot where it should move and what it should draw. The app then translated these into a preset series of comments to control the robot directly via Bluetooth. We also created an on-screen simulation of the robot which responded to the same commands, so when the robot wasn’t connected to Bluetooth, students could still check and debug their programming.

Connectivity was a vital part of this project and not just Bluetooth connectivity. RM Education has a global audience, so we had to translate the app into different languages in order to connect Loti-Bot with students all over the world.

Working closely with RM Education, we journeyed the app through several iterations and once the client was happy, we released it to the public.

BlueBot robot on turquoise background

Developing Blue-Bot

Blue-Bot is one of RM Education’s oldest robots. It has been used in schools for many years and is a very popular early programming tool.

The Blue-Bot project was a like-for-like rebuild of the existing app. The existing Blue-Bot app was getting old, so the client asked if we could rewrite it from the ground up using the same platform we used to develop Oti and Loti-Bot. This would bring everything into alignment and would simplify future developments.

The challenge we faced with this project was keeping the software functionality as close to the original as we possibly could. As Blue-Bot is such a popular and well-established robot, we were able to focus on resolving any issues with the existing app to elevate it to the next level and ensure compatibility with the latest tablets and devices.

Our Working Process with RM Education

We are proud to have worked with RM Education for many years now, working together to make STEAM learning more fun and accessible.

Working with RM Education is always great fun. We often visit their offices in Nottingham and work side-by-side for a couple of days. This is a great opportunity to collaborate, build relationships and really understand the specific goals of each project.

Near the end of a project, we often invite RM Education to the Brightec Studio for a couple of days. During this time we take a magnifying glass to the app (figuratively speaking) and highlight any issues or areas for improvement. Our team is on hand to make changes to the code there and then, thus cutting down some of the time we would normally take writing up tickets.

We love working in this way and have found it extremely effective. While it’s not sustainable as a long term approach to QA and fix, these short bursts help tie up loose ends collaboratively so that a high quality app can be released faster.

Working with Robots

We have been privileged to develop many apps for RM Education. This development is often carried out alongside the robot manufacturing process which is extremely helpful for dealing with issues as they arise. For example, if we’re trying to connect to a device that requires another firmware update or modifications to the software itself, we can have a dialogue with the manufacturer directly to solve the problem. This streamlines the workflow and ensures issues are flagged and resolved swiftly.

RM always supplies us with a generous number of robots to test in the production stage of each project, and our team enjoys the challenges and satisfaction of creating apps that connect to these devices. Who wouldn’t love playing with robots!?

What’s Next with RM Education?

We are delighted to have an ongoing working relationship with RM Education and are currently working on one of their older products called Log-Box. This project is in the next stage of iteration, so keep your eyes open for its re-release.

Working with RM Education is as enjoyable as it is nostalgic. When people look back on their childhoods they think, ‘I remember that app’. It’s special that we get to provide students with their first experience of programming.

Discover More Case Studies

Are you keen to learn more about the work we do? Browse our case studies to find a host of app design and development projects we’ve delivered to some of the UK’s global brands.

Connect with Our Team

We love connecting with great businesses doing amazing things. If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, we’re ready to deliver an unforgettable app solution. Get in touch with us today and let’s get things moving.

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