Robotics Team trekked to Ga. Tech camp
By Isabela Rzeznik
Robots are an inherently fascinating topic, present in science fiction as much as in practical, real-life settings. The building of robots seems to languish in the background of the subject. Four members of the Morgan County High School Robotics club had the chance this summer to test their own robot creation skills. Seniors Mark DoorenBos and Ben Thurston along with sophomores Hogan Tuell and Ashurst Walker and club sponsor Maryann Dartnell attended the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Engineering Design and Manufacturing Summer Camp July 8-20.
Dartnell learn about the camp from Grady Tuell, an employee of Georgia Tech and a parent of two robotics team members. The day camp lasted for two weeks, with an eight hour daily schedule. All the members were commuting into Atlanta for the camp. Participants spent the first three days of the camp learning a software called CATIA, a 3D CAD, which Dartnell described as a, “really high speed, top of the line program.” The students and teachers were divided into teams, with each team having a teacher as leader. Ten teachers participated in the camp along with 50 students from all across the US.
The goal of the camp was to create a Humanoid robots robot, similar to a Mars rover, using Lego Mindstorm, the CATIA software and 3D printers. According to Dartnell, the camp was meant to be as realistic as possible in order to mimic the reality of the engineering field. The teams had members working with them at the University of Detroit-Mercy and communicated via Skype, a blog and Dropbox. “It was really high pressure,” said Dartnell. At the end of the two weeks, there was a competition between the teams, with their robots having to complete various, pre-programmed tasks in an obstacle course-like challenge, with replica terrains and objects to pick up and move. Dartnell’s team, of which Walker was a part of, won the competition.
Dartnell explains that the camp was about more than building a robot. “They learned so much from this,” she said and also that the students were able to experience studying at Georgia Tech as well as formed friendships with other students throughout the country. Dartnell will now be teaching CATIA during enrichment periods at MCHS, which will allow students the opportunity to further explore engineering. Of course, the Robotics Club, a mere two years old and boasting 30 members, twice as many as when it started, will benefit as well. The club, which Dartnell explains is run as a business, has something for everyone, including advertising and communications.
Printed in the November 22, 2012 edition