Students from the Aberdeen Proving Ground Joint Science and Technology Institute make robots in UD labs

Participants in the 2019 Joint Science and Technology Institute (JSTI), a two-week residential program that exposes high school students to scientific research, visited UD in August to learn about 3D Printing, composite materials, robotics and more.

The students were hosted by Thomas Lum, Electronics Lab Supervisor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Larry (LJ) R. Holmes, Jr., Assistant Director for Digital Design and Additive Manufacturing at the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials. Students hailed from different states and some are from military families stationed abroad.

Students learned about manufacturing and programming robots and spent two weeks with the iSuite in Evans Hall as their home base. The iSuite features a makerspace equipped with 3D printers so that students can conceive, design, prototype and test their ideas and systems.

students learning about robots

In phase one, students assembled electronics kits that include communication, control and power hardware. Electronics assembly included wiring and soldering. Then the students use 3D printing to fabricate the body and structure of the robots. Students completed phase one by combining the electronics with the 3D printed structures.

In phase two, the students loaded pre-recorded programs onto the robots, which made them sing and dance. Once comfortable with the programming software, the students then wrote their own code to control the robots. To end phase two, the students again used 3D printing to customize their robots. For example, some made hats, glasses, or masks.

students with robots

In phase three of the program, the students further modified their robots by adding arms and programming the robots to do some task. In this case, the robots will walk to an object, pick it up and move it to a desired location.

Elementary school students participating in UD’s K-12 Engineering Outreach’s Younger Engineers camp visited with the high school students to learn about their experiences.

“This is what it is all about,” said Michael Vaughan, associate dean for engineering undergraduate education. “These are the kind of experiences that can literally change the lives and aspirations of young learners. There is no better place than UD Engineering, with its vast technological resources and expertise, to introduce and reinforce the unlimited possibilities of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education … to young people who are looking to find their place in our increasingly high-tech world.”