Hearts fans have spent most of the summer speculating on who the club will sign, with manager Craig Levein having brought in several new players.
Off the field, however, the club has announced a marquee signing in the form of Robotical’s Marty the Robot. And Myles Bax, business development manager at the firm, believes Marty could make a “big impact” at Tynecastle.
The Edinburgh-based technology startup has officially partnered with the Gorgie club to provide digital skills workshops as part of an initiative being run by the Hearts Innovation Centre.
The Innovation Centre, which is sponsored by Baillie Gifford, aims to help develop important skills for people in the local community. It is hoped that the centre will play a key role in helping improve both national skills shortages as well as regenerating the local area.
Hearts’ digital education programmes will be available for young people in the surrounding community and will see the creation of a robotics club complete with workshops and educational sessions.
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Commenting on the announcement, Hearts’ director of community and partnerships, Ann Park, said: “The Innovation Centre is a key component in our plans to make Tynecastle Park a hub for social and economic good in the community. Thanks to the support of Robotical, we are offering young people fantastic opportunities to develop coding and robotics skills for the future.”
This partnership, Park suggested, highlights the positive impact that the club can have within the local community and provide opportunities for young people from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Dr Sandy Enoch, founder of Robotical and inventor of Marty the Robot, added: “I created Marty to inspire the next generation of roboticists and engineers. Having Marty the Robot as part of the Innovation Hub at Tynecastle introduces him to a brand new audience.
“I’m looking forward to seeing more young roboticists develop as a result.”
Marty the Robot was officially launched in 2017. Following high demand, Robotical has repeatedly increased its production of the robot and even struck a deal with South Korean extra-curricular organisation, Wise Club, in 2018.
The fully-programmable, WiFi-enabled robot allows users to perform a range of different tasks, such as walking, turning, dancing and kicking a ball and has proved to be a hit with young technology enthusiasts.
Hearts’ CEO and chairman, Ann Budge, said: “I know from personal experience just how important it is for young people, particularly those in less affluent areas, to be given opportunities to develop and acquire valuable skills.
“I hope that our Innovation Centre might help unearth the next generation of successful entrepreneurs, as well as a legion of recruits for Scotland’s digital economy. Marty the Robot has already demonstrated the characteristics and personality that will ensure this signing is a hit with players, supporters and all members of the community.”