The Moreton Bay STEM Fest 2016 is officially off and racing with an action-packed day of workshops and presentations on all things Drones, Droids and Robots

On Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 220 students from 8 schools in years 7-9 attended the QUT Gardens Point Campus and were introduced to a wide array of robots, along with the University academics that work with them. Director of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, Professor Peter Corke, kicked off the day with a key note presentation taking students through the history of robotics.

Students then embarked on a series of workshops in which they took over the controls of the (quite speedy) Sphero rolling robots, programmed the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots and used coloured pens to code the tiny but powerful Ozobots. Students were also given a guided tour of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision at QUT, getting a firsthand look at the ACRV’s work and meeting some of the Centre’s resident robots. These included the COTSbot, which is able to move underwater to tackle the problem Crown of Thorn Starfish and the Baxter robot, which is being prepared to take part in the Amazon picking challenge to be held in Germany this year. The very cute and life-like Nao robots were also a hit amongst students.

The day ended with a panel discussion with Associate Professor Peta Wyeth, Associate Professor Michael Milford, and current PHD students Adam Tow and Sean McMahon. Throughout the day, students had written some excellent questions to put forward to the panel, including

“What affect will robots have on our future?”, “Why would we invent robots if we can just work ourselves?”, and “Will robots affect how crime is dealt with in the world?”

While we ran out of time to answer all these student questions in the panel, a complete list of question and answers will be posted to the website.

Students will now take their new found robotics knowledge and begin their STEMFest inquiry projects over the next 8 weeks– watch this space to see where their imaginations take them!

Leave a Reply