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 IU Trident Indiana University

Ready, Set, Robots! at Supercomputing 2013

Project Leads: Robert Ping, Kurt Seiffert, George Turner, Jenett Tillotson, Kristy Kallback-Rose, UITS Research Technologies

Collaboration and Engagement Support, UITS Research Technologies 

Ready, Set, Robots at SC13
Figure 1. The Marlon Pierce family enjoys family night at Supercomputing 2013 in Denver, CO. Marlon introduced his wife and young son to the lego robots used during the “Ready, Set, Robots!” camp at IU. 

Research Technologies (RT) continues to reach out to young people with activities geared toward encouraging them to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.  One of the most successful camps at IU has been the “Ready, Set, Robots!” camp now in its twelfth year.

RT highlighted the success of the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute “Ready, Set, Robots!” camp at The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC13) in Denver, Colorado with an informal presentation in the IU booth. In conjunction with staff from IU who spoke about the camps there was a miniature robot arena and two robots that students had programmed during the summer camp.  

Hundreds of conference attendees stopped by the Indiana University booth to learn about the camps at IU and watch the robots in action. The camp is a hands-on summer activity for kids in junior and senior high. Camps run for two full days or a half day and are tailored to the age group, skill of the students, and time allowed. Camp participants learned how to use the ultrasonic sensor to avoid obstacles, use the color sensor find colors on the arena floor, and dock with the home base using an IR sensor and beacon and a touch sensor. The camp introduces young people to technology-related fields, computer programming, high performance computing, networking, and real-world uses for robots. In the process kids gain familiarity with basic programming concepts (switches, loops, parallelism), time-management skills, creative thinking, respect for facilities and equipment, teamwork, creativity, problem solving, public speaking, and more. The booth presentation included a materials list and contact information so attendees could learn how to start their own camp or consider becoming a sponsor for the camps IU leads. The presentation is available here:  http://internal.pti.iu.edu/pubs/ready-set-robots-early-development-k-12-stem

NSF GSS Codes:

Primary Field: Multidisciplinary Studies (980) - Science, Technology, and Society

Secondary Field: Computer Science (401) - Information Science/Studies