“Today we will: build a robotic hand; build a roving chassis for your robotic prototype; program your partner; study gearations; learn robotic parts; visit the Wiess Energy Hall and build a model magic robot.”
So began my day as a Roving Robot Xplorations camper, when I was greeted by this extensive, exciting to-do list.
All in a day’s work
Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., I accomplished more as an Xplorations camper than I do on the average workday. (This is not to say I’m not a dedicated worker, but rather a testament to the absurdly energetic, ambitious souls that staff our Summer Camp Program.)
Above is a cleverly crafted robotic hand. Folds demonstrate where joints occur most naturally, and a simple system of drinking straws and string quickly illustrates to the 6 and 7-year-old class [plus this old broad] how human tendons and robotic phalanges can work similarly.
During a break between crafts, we studied how gears interact with this battery-operated board, which spins one gear in the center at varying speeds, allowing students to explore how the gears, direction and speed interact.
The above drawing illustrates the properly labeled parts of a robot in robotic terminology. (It must be noted that my superior 26-year-old hand control did not go unnoticed, nor did the addition of a mustache go unappreciated.)
Perhaps my favorite part of the day was “program your partner,” in which we employed robotic commands to direct our partner to grasp a tennis ball. Only minor chaos ensued.
All in all it was a terrific day, and I was left with something special to remember it by, thanks to this sneaky selfie.