Archive for the ‘STEM initiatives’ Category

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society hosts student event at IROS 2012

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society continues its missions to get students interested in the growing field of robotics through its pre-college student event at the recent IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 2012 (IROS) in Vilamoura, Portugal from 7 to 12 October 2012. The local organizer, The Institute of Systems and Robotics of University of Coimbra, invited students from schools of the Algarve region to visit the conference on 9 October.

There was tremendous response as 40 pre-college students from nearby schools, accompanied by teachers, accepted the invitation. The program, partially supported by the Portuguese Agency for the Scientific and Technological Culture, started with a plenary session on surgical robotics by Professor Paulo Dario from the University of Pisa, Italy, and “European Robotics Research: Achievements and Challenges” by Dr. Libor Kral. The students attended robot navigation competitions and toured the exhibitors’ areas before witnessing a seminar by Paulo Menezes entitled “Robots and How to Become a Robot Creator.”

The event follows a similar pre-college program the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society held at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May, which you can read about here. Both events have served as excellent forums to inspire young students to consider pursuing both engineering and, particularly, robotics, as a possible career choice.

A Women in Engineering Luncheon sponsored by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society was also held at IROS 2012. Over 60 guests joined RAS leaders to enjoy lunch while listening to helpful insight from speaker Nancy Amato.

IEEE EDS hosts Solar Day Student Competition at 2012 PVSC

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

On 3 June, a group of mostly 10th grade students from Taylor High School in Austin, Texas, USA took first place at the IEEE Electron Devices Society’s (EDS) Austin Solar Day Competition. The team won for its B.L.A.D.E van (Beginners Learning Alternative Designs for Energy), which it transformed into an alternative energy vehicle (A.E.V.) from a donated 1995 GMC Safari. To win, teams had to demonstrate the use of photovoltaics in a practical application, using only photovoltaics as the power source for the project.

To build the vehicle, the team met each week after school to solder 6″ x 6″ polycrystalline wafers and construct 144-watt solar panels. The students mounted the panels on the AEV to charge a bank of (8) 6-volt deep cycle batteries connected in a series-parallel circuit. The batteries are charged through voltage regulators and wired to inverters, with the inverters wired to weatherproof receptacles cut into the van. The team won, not only for building the solar cells and the energy system, and for netting sponsorships and materials donations, but for teaching the public about solar energy with fun activities like free movies in the park using a projector, DVD player and amplifier plugged into a weatherproof receptacle – all powered by the B.L.A.D.E. van.

IEEE EDS Austin Solar Day, held alongside the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), attracted about 2,000 people from the area. The competition allowed students to interact directly with world-famous photovoltaic technologists and businesses. Attendees included PV installers, PV buyers, students, utilities, and the general public interested in including solar power in their daily lives.

IEEE Circuits & Systems Society sponsors workshop for Indian students

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Although India is rapidly producing engineers, there are far too few Indian students pursuing careers in circuits and systems, a major problem for a country where multimedia technology is expanding every day. Adding to the problem, there is no interaction between university research labs and high schools in the country. Getting high school/secondary students interested in circuits and systems before they head for college will help boost the number of college students pursuing careers in this important field.

The First IEEE Circuits & Systems Society Outreach Workshop on Machine Intelligence is designed to do just that. On 18 – 20 May 2012, 55 high performing students from 34 schools in Kerala, India were selected to attend the workshop, where they learned all about intelligent systems, circuit and systems, pattern recognition and image processing. The workshop included lab sessions on image processing and understanding creativity and emotions for intelligent machines. Many students found the sessions on emotional intelligence in robots, bioinformatics and geoinformatics appealing as career options. They also had fun interacting with research scientists from industry and academia who participated in the workshop.

(View the full list of programs here.)

The IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (IEEE CAS) supported the workshop through its outreach program funding (the program was one of 15 proposals selected worldwide). It was the only IEEE CAS outreach-supported program in India for 2011-2012. The Machine Intelligence Research Group of the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management – Kerala (IIITM-K) organized the event. Another workshop is scheduled to be held in December.

(View the workshop’s image gallery.)

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society hosts Teen Robotics Program at ICRA

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) sponsored its second Teen Robotics Program at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). The program — designed to give high school students insight into the exciting challenges and opportunities in the field of robotics — took place on 17 May 2012 in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA (the ‘Twin Cities’). IEEE RAS contacted local public schools, the FIRST Robotics Organization, the Explorer Scouts, and the IEEE Twin Cities Section to recruit motivated high school juniors and seniors to attend. Even though mid-May is a busy time for teenagers with proms, exams, and graduation, IEEE RAS managed to recruit a dozen teenagers and one teacher to participate in the six-hour program.

Students watch a demonstration of the winning Robot Challenge team, a hockey-playing robot.

(Video: Check out some awesome robots in action at ICRA 2012!)

The teenagers learned much about the exciting field of robotics during their visit. After Professor Wesley Snyder of North Carolina State University gave an overview on robotics, the students watched a TED Talk video featuring Professor Vijay Kumar of the University of Pennsylvania and his flying robots. About five minutes into the video — much to the students’ surprise–, Professor Kumar strolled into the room and finished the talk in person. Next, ICRA General Chair Nikos Papanikolopoulos of the University of Minnesota spoke to the students about the robotics programs underway in their home state of Minnesota.

Afterwards it was time for the students to see some real robots in action. The students met Dr. Steve Cousins, CEO of ICRA Robot Challenge sponsor Willow Garage, a company that develops hardware and open source software for personal robotic applications. The company provided several of its sophisticated, commercially available PR2 robots (only U.S.$400,000 each!) for the ICRA Robot Challenge that took place the day before. Dr. Cousins presented a demonstration called “Yesterday’s Sushi,” which featured robots as they cleared and reset a full-sized table and served sushi dishes in a mock sushi restaurant. The demonstration was a reenactment of the Mobile Manipulation Challenge, also known as “The Sushi Boat Challenge,” one of six challenges that had taken place during the challenge competition. The students spoke with one of the challenge teams — a group of graduate students from the University of Michigan — and saw the team’s robots before visiting the main exhibition. They also met with representatives from many of the 30 companies and organizations that attended, including DARPA, NASA, iRobot, ABB, KUKA, and Barrett Technologies. The students not only witnessed robots in action, but also got to operate them.

The ICRA Twin Cities Teen Robotics Event was originally scheduled to end at noon, but several of the students accepted an invitation to attend the ICRA plenary talk on the Development Outline of the Humanoid Robot: HUBO II by Professor Jun Ho Oh of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea. The students were impressed with the cool robots as well as the enthusiasm of the academic and industry professionals they met, all of whom were more than willing to answer their questions.

(Videos: View the full list of TechTalks from ICRA 2012.)

The ICRA Twin Cities Teen Robotics Event was the second youth event sponsored by IEEE RAS. The first was held in San Francisco, California, USA in September 2011 at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

“My Daughter is an Engineer” program helps get girls interested in engineering

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

22 February 2012 – Women represent only about 20 percent of engineering students and 10 percent of profession engineers, according to statistics. The “My Daughter is an Engineer” (MDIAE) program — designed to bring mothers and daughters together to participate in engineering-based activities — is helping to change that. This K-12 outreach program, sponsored by the IEEE Control Systems Society, introduces robotics and controls to young girls via hands-on engineering workshops with an aim to get them to consider future careers in STEM (science, engineering, technology, and mathematics). Participants included 14 elementary school girls and their mothers who worked together in two engineering-based workshops on robotics and controls technology in everyday life at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), California, USA. Each student and her mother formed a team, made a remote-controlled robot (called the RC Snap Rover), designed an application to use the robot in helping a daily task, presented their project, and demoed their robot. Three winners were selected based on the creativity and performance.

The girls also participated in a separate workshop on academic career preparation and skills learning. The program included a field trip to Columbia Memorial Space Center at City of Downey, California, USA, in which students and their mothers visited a realistic mock-up of a spacecraft and mission control room. To successfully complete their mission, they became crew members on a simulated space mission to solve real-life problems in math, science, and technology. After the mission, they visited a robotics lab to program a robot on Lego/Mission Mars computer and tested their skills with collecting, surveying, and rescuing. Finalists were recommended and selected by the school counselors and the MDIAE program committee. Participating schools included four schools from the Long Beach Unified School District: Chavez Elementary, Edison Elementary, International Elementary, and Roosevelt Elementary (California, USA). More information can be found on the Women in Engineering Outreach Program Web site.

 

IEEE Electron Devices Society “Engineers Demonstrating Science Program” launched

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

31 August 2011- As part of the IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) strategy to rejuvenate chapter activities in the United States and the rest of the world, the newly created Engineers Demonstrating Science – an Engineer Teacher Connection (IEEE EDS-ETC) program has recently launched. The goal of the program is to enable chapter members to visit local schools or host events designed to engage young students in the field of electrical engineering. By utilizing easy-to-use Elenco Snap Circuits kits, students learn about electronic circuits using a “hands-on” approach to experiencing the exciting and creative field of electronics. The Society hopes EDS-ETC will encourage students to consider electrical and electronic engineering as a career.

The program, led by IEEE EDS volunteer Fernando Guarin, was designed with help from the Rochester, Boise and the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapters. These dedicated volunteers are working with local science teachers ranging from the 4th through 12th grade levels to run initial evaluations. In the first phase of the project, IEEE EDS plans to make this offering available to its chapters in the United States. Based on this experience, the Society will extend the program to EDS chapters around the globe. In anticipation, the Society recruited the Colombia Chapter to run a pilot program in Bogota, Columbia with the participation of two major universities partnering with local schools.