STEM Enthusiasts Get Ready to Attend FLATE Robotics Camps

It’s June!, which also means FLATE’s robotics camps season is at hand. This year many new and returning campers are looking forward to a summer full of adventure and fun learning how to program robots as they work to solve several thought-provoking STEM related challenges using robots. For campers like MacKenzie Evans, who is returning to attend the intermediate camp, the camp promises to be another exciting learning experience…one that is sure to set her on another path of innovation.

Evans attended the 'all girls' camp last summer thanks to a scholarship from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation. This past year, Evans worked closely with FLATE’s outreach manager and camp director, Desh Bagley, on a class-
related science project to come up with a new invention to help save electricity, reduce global warming and help polar bears. Inspired by her exposure to robotics and powered by her knowledge about sensors that she learned to program during last year’s intro camp, Evans designed a system that could detect motion and turn the light on, or off in a room based on sensors that could detect human motion. Instead of having lights turn off due to lack of movement, Evans programmed the sensor to simulate a system in which lights turned off due to lack of carbon dioxide in the air.

Indeed, FLATE’s robotics camps have proven to be inspirational on many levels, and represent a ‘hands-on, minds-on’ approach to showcasing the applications of STEM in real-world settings. During the weeklong program, campers will engage in various challenges, building and program Lego® Mindstorms® EV3 Robots. Working in a predominantly team-based environment, campers will learn how to reconfigure and program LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3 robots. They will also learn about 3D printing techniques, and write programs to operate the NAO humanoid robot.

The high school camp is also poised to provide an intellectually charged experience. Campers will use Solidworks
and CAD to design a functional robotic arm. They will learn about 3D printing processes using additive manufacturing techniques, and program an Arduino microprocessor to operate servo motors. Thanks to the support of Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs, the Foundation for the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, the high school campers will be able to keep the Arduino microprocessors and 3D printed projects that they create during the camp.

The model for FLATE’s the state-of-the-art robotics camps has been replicated across the state and the nation, and just like in the case of MacKenzie Evans, the camps continue to serve as a platform to inspire students to become innovative thinkers, and pursue STEM careers that can support manufacturing and high-tech industries in Florida. Cost for each, week-long camp is $175. This year’s schedule and list of camp offerings both on-site and across the state are posted on the FLATE homepage at www.fl-ate.org/projects/camps.html, on www.madeinflorida.org, and also on the side bar of the newsletter. So, if you haven’t already, be sure to recommend and/or sign up for one of the camps, as space is limited. You can also contact Desh Bagley at camps@fl-ate.org and Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, for more information.