Robotics

Mars? Nope. College students Take To Nice Sand Dunes To Check Robots – Colorado Public Radio

Mars? Nope. College students Take To Nice Sand Dunes To Check Robots

Tammy Le holds a robotic constructed by her crew from the College of Denver’s Bridge Venture. The Colorado House Grant Consortium’s Robotics Problem at Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park, April 13, 2019.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Within the 1970s, NASA scientists traveled to Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park to check tools for the Viking Mars landers, considering the dunes could be a great substitute for the Martian floor.

Now, the NASA-funded Colorado House Grant Consortium heads again to the park every year for a pupil occasion they name the Colorado Robotics Problem.

The consortium represents state faculties, universities and different organizations giving college students an opportunity to work on actual, sensible space-ish sort initiatives.

Thirty groups attended the 13th annual occasion Saturday, ranging in age from junior excessive college students to school seniors.

“Our problem [is] to construct a robotic that may work autonomously and get via programs that get more durable and more durable as they go alongside,” stated Bernadette Garcia Galvez, the affiliate director of the consortium. “They’re educating its mind, principally.”


A robotic navigates a course on the Colorado House Grant Consortium’s Robotics Problem at Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park, April 13, 2019.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Organizers traced a circle within the sand on the base of the park’s towering dunes, roughly 40 ft in diameter. The circle was reduce into six wedges, every representing a progressively more durable course to the middle the place a spinning beacon stood on a knee-high tripod.

The primary impediment is simply open, flat sand. The harder programs are lined with ditches, rocks and man-made obstacles like ramps and partitions.

Garcia Galvez stated the occasion is just not a contest, so every crew bought to outline success for themselves.

“Success is believing in your self, believing in your robots, supporting your crew, problem-solving and simply attempting your finest and having a great time,” stated 14-year-old Tammy Le.


The Trinidad Junior Faculty crew watches in agony as their GRIFFIN robotic navigates the course. Colorado House Grant Consortium’s Robotics Problem at Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park, April 13, 2019.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

What are they hoping the robots do? “We hope that they transfer,” Le stated with fun.

Their robotic this yr did transfer, and although all Nation Boy did at first was spin in a circle, Le’s crew is studying. A pair years in the past, all their robotic did was transfer … an inch. That progress, studying, is all a part of the purpose, particularly for college kids who in any other case won’t have such an expertise.

Le and the opposite three women on her crew got here from a Denver-based after-school program referred to as the Bridge Venture. All 4 are youngsters of immigrants or refugees and stay in low-income neighborhoods.


A few folks stroll on the Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park on April 13, 2019, throughout a pupil robotics problem.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

“Simply to be outdoors of the internal metropolis, that’s a tremendous journey for them,” stated Bridge Venture Program and Group Partnerships Director Phuong Phan.

Garcia Galvez stated the last word aim of the problem and the consortium is to encourage college students via such hands-on initiatives.

“So when they’re going into faculty or ending faculty, their resumes are actually robust they usually have a variety of abilities to leap proper right into a job, both at NASA or in a supporting trade,” she stated.

Finally, the women bought each Nation Boy and his WiFi-connected pal Church Woman to roll straight and true — more often than not.

Dan Boyce

About Dan Boyce

With over a decade of journalism expertise, Dan joined Colorado Public Radio in 2018 as a regional reporter masking main information developments in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas.

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