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Sensors indicate ... a dance party

Subheadline: 
Students design robots to bust a move as part of engineering camp

  • Photos by Carl Elmore/For the Savannah Morning News- A programmable robot leads a group in a dance during a robot dance recital Friday afternoon.
  • Dancing robots perform for a group at The Creative Coast Headquarters Friday afternoon.
  • Did that, got the T-shirt: The dancing robot recital Friday afternoon at The Creative Coast Headquarters was sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers, the Frank Callen Boys & Girls Club and Creative Coast.
  • Thirteen-year-old Jaquandra Robinson participated in the Robot Dance Recital.

Ordinarily, you might not want your robot to wobble. Unless, that is, your robot is dancing “The Wobble.”

And that’s exactly what five pairs of middle school students programmed their robots to do this summer.

The Lego Mindstorm creations strutted their stuff at a recital Friday at The Creative Coast headquarters in Savannah.

Moving in time to the hip hop tune, the mechanical heads bobbed and their tiny arms churned as they zipped to and fro on tiny tank treads. Rapper V.I.C. couldn’t have done it better himself.

The local Society of Women Engineers and the Frank Callen Boys & Girls Clubs sponsored the camp that had kids — both boys and girls — spend eight Friday afternoons learning to assemble and code the robots. It’s not as easy as the dances make it look, said Morgan Dennis Jones, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Richmond Hill Middle School.

“There is no trick,” she said. “You have to learn along the way and get there as you learn it.”

Along with the Wobble, each pair of kids programmed their robot to perform one other 30-second dance — call it chip hop — which was also performed.

The Lego robots use drag and drop code that’s easy to teach, said Whitney Holt, president of the Society of Women Engineers Savannah. Then dance is included to lure in more female students.

“If you offer a dance robot team, you have more girls show up because you’re mixing engineering and arts together,” she said.

It worked for Ja’Kayla Brigham, 11, a sixth grader at Hubert Middle School who dances “a lot.” The best thing about her robot?

“I built it.” 

More Info

Breakout Box: 

On the web

For more information on the local Society of Women Engineers, see www.sceswe.org or www.facebook.com/SWESCE

Video of the Dance will be available via YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/sceswe

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