Schools get Lego robot funding

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Articles - June 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE Kids are geeking out over high-tech Legos that can be assembled into robots and programmed to do all sorts of tasks. The Dandelion Sucker Robot, the Orchard Spray Reduction Robot and the Hood River Bridge Bicycle and Pedestrian Transport Robot, which carries bikes and walkers across the car-friendly span, are all machines that were devised, discussed and modeled by clever students in Hood River. “We are just inventing robotic solutions for the things people talk about,” says Aram Soghikian, a local robotics engineer who works with kids in the Gorge Robotics Club.

Robotics education in the Gorge got new wind last fall when Google gave $43,000 to two groups in The Dalles for Lego Mindstorms. Kids ages 6 to 18 use the kits to build robots out of sensors, motors and Legos that can be programmed using simplified software.

Mindstorms kits teach kids basic computer programming without being intimidating, and robots get kids interested in technology and science, says Dave Karlson, manager of Google’s data center in The Dalles. Google is one of many local tech giants supporting robotics for kids, along with the robotic aircraft-maker Insitu and other members of the growing Gorge Technology Alliance.

And young robot inventors may become future Insitu and Google engineers. The Lego software is not so different from what many pros use, says Soghikian. Do robots jumpstart mechanical engineering careers? “A huge yes,” he says.





Deb Mumm-Hill, FIRST Pacific NW Regional Director
0 #1 Thanks to mentors from industry inspiring students into engineering and innovationDeb Mumm-Hill, FIRST Pacific NW Regional Director 2010-06-17 09:21:56
Kudos to wonderful mentors from industry like Aram Soghikian, who give their time and energy to inspire students in the Columbia River Gorge to become our future innovators and engineers! Also a big thanks to the teachers at the local schools who are encouraging students to get involved with robotics. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is targeting the CRG area this coming school year to bring our full K - 12 robotics programs to the schools, creating teams that compete in a "sport of the mind". For more info on robotics teams or how you can support a school team, check out
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0 #2 lego from architecture to roboticsJulie 2011-05-31 22:52:01
Thats so far beyond lego architecture ( its not funny and I thought they were pretty advanced, but this is great stuff - construction kits just got way more interesting.
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0 #3 dan 2011-12-21 22:09:21
hi Deb............ ............... .......
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