Local

Youth experience "robot extravaganza"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A high-tech camp designed for the engineers of tomorrow is currently going on at San Jacinto College in Pasadena. There grade school students are spending the week attending a camp called "Robot Extravaganza."

For some kids, just watching robots this summer isn't enough. The group at this summer camp is building their own.

"They all have different challenges," camp director Johnny Moya said. "There's something for everyone. If you're a computer person, a building person, a team leader, a follower, it doesn't matter, there's something for everyone."

Funded by the National Science Foundation, "Robot Extravaganza" is a weeklong camp for 8th to 10th graders where students build and program their own robots.

"[There] are touch sensors, so if you touch it, it'll do pretty much whatever you want," student Chase Henderson said.

The goal is to promote an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math, known as "stem" fields, while also having fun.

"I think the best thing about robot camp is you leave your house, you go to this place for the day, having fun, it gets all your worries away," student Javier Zepeda said.

And, it can even get a little competitive: after building their own robots, campers are told to build a difficult maze.

"The first task is can they themselves go through their own maze, and the second is can they go through their opponents' maze," Moya said.

This is the second year for "Robot Extravaganza." There are three one-week courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

For more information, check out the "Robot Extravaganza" website, www.robotextravaganza.com.

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