In the darkened room a light strip circled the perimeter of a large, black table. Surrounding it, two teams of students battled it out. They maneuvered their remote controlled robot cars, trying to force the opponent into the “black hole” in the center. Last one standing won.
These custom-built robots were the culmination of last week’s Summit Summer robotics camp in which students learned the ropes by constructing robots from Lego Mindstorm XT kits before building their own creations.
Students started the week by building a tribot with two wheels on the sides and one in front. Next, they programmed them to follow a simple oval printed on a floor mat. The robot followed the shape based on pattern and color recognition. As the students’ level of expertise progressed, they created ‘bots that could follow more complex patterns. By the end of the week, they built a robot from instructions posted on the internet. One of their finished products was a “power saw” that could cut paper. There was also a puppy, the ever-popular catapult, and a rattlesnake.
If there is a robot workshop on the Summit campus, you can bet rising eighth grader Keenan Rogers is involved. He has attended numerous workshops taught by camp instructors, Director of Technology Chris Culp ’82, and Josh Perry ‘94 a Computer Specialist at the School. Keenan enjoys the more complicated projects and recently worked alongside Chris and a group of students to build a solar panel from scratch.
Eleven-year-old Pinto Deora, a rising 7th grader at Hanes Middle School, looked forward to attending another Summit Summer Robotics Camp this year. “I love the challenge of building one and being able to tell it what to do,” he says. The future engineer highly recommends the very popular camp to others for the learning opportunities, fun, and great teachers.
These students inaugurated the new Robotics Lab, attending the first class held in the magnificent new Arts and Technology building. The spacious lab contains new power tools for constructing robots and a bank of 11 computer stations line the wall. A real-world robot, called a CNC machine, will enable students to cut out custom pieces for their robots. And, with wall-to-wall cabinets, there is space for lots of ‘bots to come.
2009 Summit Summer camps run through July. For more information on the remaining camps, go to www.summitschool.com/summer