Monday, May 24, 2010

Lots of bots

(The following was provided courtesy of BotsIQ.)

It was local manufacturer F Squared who came to Highlands High School in search of a BotsIQ partner. And they found mechanical engineer‑turned‑teacher John Malobicky ready for the challenge.

John had written a curriculum for an entry‑level course in engineering, which Robert Morris University had approved for three college credits. John was teaching it at Highlands. “BotsIQ requirements were an ideal match for the capstone project for the course,” John realized. “What’s more, it offered students hands‑on application of the principles critical in meeting the course requirements: teamwork, scheduling, project management, budgeting and production control, among other engineering concepts.

Team Axiom produced its bot design with CAD at the school and then worked in RMU labs alongside college professors like Dr. Sushil Acharya and Dr. Arif Sirinterlikci to do the rapid prototype work.

John is an advocate for originality. While both Highlands teams are able to salvage parts from year to year, he wants students to gain as much engineering experience as possible. So they start from scratch each year. “It takes a lot more time, “ he concedes. And students agree. "It is the most challenging thing we have ever done,” they write in their project evaluations. But in the end, they share a collective sense of pride: “We never thought we’d get it done!” And they did – for the second year in a row!

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