Thursday July 31, 2014





Robotics club in the works for Kamloops girls

'We had a kid design a robot that looked like an alligator once'

Imagine creating a robot that could solve a Rubik's cube or pour a cup of coffee.

These might not be the most exciting applications for youth, but the Big Little Science Centre (BLSC) hopes that possibilities like these will spark interest in a new girls-only robotics program, for participants age 10 and up.

The BLSC currently operates a robotics program for both boys and girls, which filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All 20 spots were filled with boys before any girls inquired, said executive director Gord Stewart.

There are a few girls on a waiting list for the program and a number of other girls expressed comfort with a girls-only program, sparking the decision to launch a new program, he said.

The BLSC, located at 985 Holt St., will host an information session on the program on Feb. 5, at 3:15 p.m. The goal of the session will be to gauge interest and decide on a format for the course.

As part of the program, girls will design, build and program their own robots, capable of an endless number of applications. Stewart said that lots can be done with their kits and robots are limited only by the imagination of their designers.

The BLSC uses the Lego Mindstorms Robotics System, which uses simple, Lego-like pieces and a "brain" control centre. The BLSC has a variety of sensors that allow kids to build robots that can sense temperature, sound, distance, touch and tilt.

"We can build a robot that is aware enough of its surroundings that it can navigate an obstacle course," Stewart said. "We had a kid design a robot that looked like an alligator once, it would sit and do nothing until something came into its striking distance and then it would jump out and bite at you."

Stewart says that the program would take place either during spring break as a camp or an after-school club with the BLSC. For more information, contact Stewart at the BLSC at (250) 554-2572.





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