The 14 students participated in several technology-based activities, including soldering instruction, witnessing a moonbuggy demonstration and taking a tour of the Honda Manufacturing Plant in Lincoln — where robotic technology aids the plant’s workers in automotive production. The participants also assembled two robots — the “mindset” robot, a programmable automaton that’s framework is built from LEGOs, as well as an “escape” robot that resembles a spider and uses sensors to detect and navigate around obstacles.
The camp was jointly sponsored by Bevill State and the Walker County Chamber of Commerce in an effort to promote technological learning and appreciation to the students, who were selected from a group of 10th, 11th and 12th graders. Several Bevill State students also served as mentors during the camp, aiding the participants in their instruction and robot assembly.
“It’s been an excellent week for all of us,” Camp instructor Veronica Baugh said. “The students have been eager to learn and we’ve had a lot of fun with them.”
The conclusion of the camp saw a robotics competition, where the participants’ assembled “escape” robots which attempted to navigate an enclosed course where the winning robot had to find and make its way through the course’s only open doorway. The competition drew not only excitement among the participants, but bouts of laughter as robots unexpectedly went inoperative, suffered partial motor failure or in many cases, detected other robots — resulting in clashes that would often end with one robot overturned.
Jake Pasco, an upcoming senior at Oakman High School, who’s robot emerged as the winner of the “escape” competition, said he enjoyed the experience.
“It’s been a week I’ll never forget,” Pasco said. “I’ve never seen anything like what we saw at the Honda Plant — the chance to see the technology at work there along with what I’ve learned this week is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.”