A group of middle school-age girls will spend Friday afternoon tweaking choreography as their newly created robots show off smooth moves in a friendly dance competition in
Fifteen participants in the five-day robotics academy have spent the last several afternoons huddled around computers in the library, learning how to build and program Pi-Bot movement.
Powered by batteries and balanced on two wheels, the Pi-Bot features a chassis shaped like the Greek letter pi, sensors, gearboxes and minibreadboards. They're able to move semiauto- nomously.
The girls learned C Language code, a simple text-based computer programming code language, to direct their robots.
The participants' instructors are four high school girls, all members of Kalani Robotics 3008.
"Nowadays you don't really see girls wanting to take interest in technology," Lai said. "But I think it's really important because the people who are into technology are the ones who are going to, like, make a difference in the future. ... We need to get everyone involved ... not just the boys."
The academy -- the first girls program organized by Kalani Robotics 3008 -- was made possible with an AspireIT grant from the
Lai said, "I hope that by the end of this week, they'll be more interested in this kind of stuff, and hopefully they'll continue to be involved with robotics and STEM (an integration of science, technology, engineering and math studies) so that when they go to high school, maybe they can join their robotics team or start holding camps like this one for other girls."?
As instructors, Lai and Sara Nakagaki, a
Nakagaki said, "I joined robotics because I didn't see that many girls in robotics," and that spurred her on to show the often boy-dominated teams and clubs that "girls can do robotics."
The Kalani Robotics 3008 team, which takes its name from an assigned number in an early competition, was formed in 2008 and has about 25 members. The school also has a robotics club of about 50 students.
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