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A Revolutionary Excursion

Posted 05/19/2016 by Jordan Prochnow

photo by Jordan Prochnow

TJ robotics students enriched their learning experiences by attending a new robot exhibit in Denver.

On April 27th, a select group of students in TJ’s robotics program went on an excursion to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to witness Robot Revolution, a new exhibition. Students were able to interact with many different robots with everyday uses that can accomplish complex tasks in no time at all.

Robot Revolution emphasizes the fact that robots can and are used for many important jobs on a daily basis. The exhibit is separated into four different areas that focus on locomotion, cooperation, smarts, and skills. The locomotive bots are used for tasks including photography, terrain scouting, and climbing, while the skills, smarts, and cooperation robots focus on playing games, solving problems, and gripping different objects. Some of the more exciting robots in the exhibit include one that can solve a Rubik’s cube, play soccer, or deal cards to play poker with the audience. “We got to see robots that were meant to accomplish a variety of different tasks and how to program or use those robots for real world situations,” explained Kendall Richter, a junior in Pathways Robotics. “One of my favorites was a baby robot that was programmed to say hi or do a headstand, and that human to robot interaction was meant to be used with people who have autism. They can communicate and connect with someone, and therefore feel more comfortable when that robot changes to a human to human situation.”

Students also had the opportunity to view Robots 3D, the accompanying IMAX film. The film focuses on the ways that scientists work on “humanoid” robots in an attempt to create more realistic, human-like creations. Viewers are able to visit different robotics labs around the world to witness the ways in which machines affect our world and the importance of these inventions.

The excursion took place as part of CareerX, a program that strives to encourage out-of-the-classroom learning. Many of the Center for Communication Technology (CCT) teachers have taken their students on excursions like this as well, including trips to the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Denver Post. “We are so fortunate to be able to incorporate the new CareerX excursions into our CTE curriculum,” explained CCT instructor Eileen Adair. “It’s a unique opportunity to be able to get our students out of the classrooms and see our content areas at work in the real world.

The robotics program’s excursion allowed students to experience engineering, something that they learn about every day, in new and exciting ways. “I’m lucky to have gone to the robotics exhibit because it showed me engineering on a whole different level,” said junior D’Aris James, also in the Pathways class. “The way I saw how the robots use sensors to run autonomously was fascinating and inspiring.” The exhibit runs until August 7th, so Spartans should be sure to check out the amazing innovations that are taking place in the world around us.