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Domo Areggato, Ms. Roboto May 4, 2010

Posted by sonaldhingra in Clubs.
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Once a year National Robotics Week rolls around and we have the opportunity to learn about all things Robot (and then some).  This year our friends at iRobot invited our Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts ‘FaB Factor’ club at Orchard Gardens Community Center, over for a visit to their offices in Bedford MA, and all we can say is – what a trip!

Enjoying our tour of iRobot

We started off with a short tour of the facilities, learning about the wide array of robots that iRobot creates – from our household favorites, Roomba and Scooba, to robots for military use – defusing bombs and securing grenades – that’s some cool stuff!

After our tour, the real fun began!  We got to experience 4 different stations – at the first the girls got to control a robot, not by remote but rather by computer.  They could draw a line from one point to another on the map of the room and the robot would follow that path.  They also got to check its progress by watching a video feed from its camera eye.

Following the robot to make sure "he" got back safely

At the second station the girls got to pick up (foam) grenades with the help of a robot controlled by a mechanical arm.  Girls would move the arm and position the gripper to securely grab the grenade.  They learned that the robot moves just as we tell it too – so be sure to be gentle with those moves!

The third station had a device that looked like a 13 sided gaming die.  The girls got to control it by touch screen – guessing which numbers were touched to make particular things happen to the device – some robotics by numbers if you will

Last, but certainly not least, when the girls walked outside to the parking lot they were met with an obstacle course and some robots to race!  Weaving in and out of cones and up and down concrete divides – the girls got to race each other in teams to see who had the best skills.  Winners got hand held mini Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots that were a big hit all around.

Taking apart a Roomba

We ended our visit by checking out what the Rooma robots could do and then… we took them apart!  What fun would a visit to a robot company be without getting to take a few things apart right? The girls had a great time unscrewing all the tiny pieces that make up Roomba.  One girl even mentioned that she liked taking things apart at home, to which one of the iRobot engineers replied: “That’s how I got started in Engineering too!”

A big thanks to iRobot for letting our girls come visit with you.  Thanks also for the donation of the iRobot Roomba vacuum – the girls can’t wait to take it apart!

Thanks for a great visit!

To see what the girls did on their visit, click below for a short video. Don’t worry, no Roombas were hurt in the making of this video.

Photos and video footage shot by iRobot staff.

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