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Robot Sumo Tournament draws crowds at Museum of Science
An incredible variety of robot designs and control algorithms were on display at Machine Science's annual Robot Sumo Tournament, which took place on May 29 at the Museum of Science Boston. Now it its fifth year, this event challenges middle school and high school competitors to create autonomous robots that battle head-to-head for control of the sumo ring. Representing the City of Boston were students from Boston Latin Academy, the John D. O'Bryant School, Jeremiah Burke High School, Madison Park High School, and the Engineering School. Students from two schools in Lowell - Sullivan Middle School and Stoklosa Middle School - also competed in the tournament. Sam Francois of Boston Latin Academy took home the first-place trophy, beating Ina Shkurti of the John D. O'Bryant School in a well-fought final match. Many thanks to the Museum of Science for their continued support of this annual tournament.
Students tackle engineering challenges at UMass Boston camp
Students from Machine Science's after-school engineering programs finished the year with a two-week summer camp on the campus of UMass Boston. During the first week of the camp, participating students built and programmed their own creative embedded computing devices, including a random number guessing game, an electronic game timer and scorekeeper, and a user-settable alarm clock. During the second week, students were challenged to build powerful DC motor robots, using equipment provided by GEARS Educational Systems of Hanover. Campers connected wireless transceivers and pneumatic actuators to their robots, so that they could compete in a remote-controlled ball-kicking challenge. The camp was supported by a generous grant from a Boston-area family foundation. We would like to thank them and Deborah Boisvert and her staff at the Boston-area Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC) program for helping to make the camp a success.
Forty teachers attend iSENSE workshop at UMass Lowell
Teachers from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island attended an intensive three-day workshop on the campus of UMass Lowell last month to learn about the Internet System for Networked Sensor Experimentation (iSENSE). Created by UMass Lowell and Machine Science, the iSENSE system is a classroom teaching technology that enables students and citizen scientists to collect and share scientific data over the internet. During the three-day workshop, teachers conducted a variety of tabletop and field investigations, using the iSENSE sensor hardware and web system. The project's Portable iSENSE Network (PIN) Point data loggers were tested, as well as environmental and human health sensors, such as pH gauges, carbon dioxide sensors, Geiger counters, and heart rate monitors. Michelle Scribner MacLean, of UMass Lowell's Graduate School of Education, helped teachers develop strategies for using the iSENSE technology in their science classrooms.
Art exhibit highlights creative uses of Machine Science technology
Works of art developed using microcontrollers and software from Machine Science were on display last month at the Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media in Jamaica Plain. The show, titled "Path to Ground," featured interactive, kinetic, installation, and sound art created by students working in the Electronic Projects curriculum of the Mass College of Art's Studio for Interrelated Media. MassArt Instructors Fred Wolflink and Dana Moser curated the exhibition, whose title refers to a fundamental property of electricity: that it flows "to ground" through the path of least resistance.
Machine Science alums to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Boston Latin Academy graduates Sam Francois, Phil Simon, and Jean-Luc Teixeira, all multiyear Machine Science participants, will be enrolling at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall of 2010. Phil plans to study computer science, while Sam and Jean-Luc are considering electrical and mechanical engineering. Sam and Phil have been particularly active members of Machine Science, attending summer camps for several consecutive years and helping out as paid assistants at our vacation week courses and other Machine Science workshops and demonstrations. We will definitely miss having these guys around next year, and we wish them the best of luck and continued success at WPI.