Robotics has captured the interest of many young people today, and that was no exception for these 17 robot enthusiasts, ages 8 to 12 years old, who were hosted by Absolute Robot Inc. (ARI) in Worcester, MA. The campers from the Worcester Academy Robotics Camp spent the morning at ARI’s Worcester technical center on July 31.
The campers learned there is a big difference between Lego robots at school and servo robots made for the plastics industry. The students clambered down the stairs to the tech center and, in no time, were hands on, writing lines of program and seeing it executed by a robot in real time, said ARI. While it was the first time they had seen an industrial robot in a manufacturing environment, they were quick to understand the human/machine interface and how the programmable logic controller (PLC) is used to execute commands.
“The kids would input a command and the robot would output a function,” said Tim Lavigne, Business Unit Manager for ARI. “Soon they were modifying sequences while the robot was running.”
Tyler Alcock, Service Manager at ARI, added, “It was fun to see the expression on the students’ faces once they could see their input commands translate into a motion that the robot would execute.”
Alcock noted that he has spoken about the field of robotics at various schools, “but this is the first time I had the opportunity to show kids what a career in robotics could really look like. Whenever we have the chance to introduce students to the field of automation and plastics, we are happy to do so.”
The campers also saw the injection molding machines in the technical center, which provided the opportunity to learn how plastic parts are made and how the machine and robot communicate through signal interfacing.
One of the owners of the Absolute Group of companies, Nate Smith, attended Worcester Academy and reached out to camp director Paul Himottu to see if he would be interested in the visit as part of the curriculum. The Robotics Camp is an inquiry-based experience that encourages motivated students to explore the fundamental concepts of engineering through robotics.