Thursday, October 22, 2009

RFG final meeting

Yesterday, October 21, was the final meeting of this fall's Robotics for Grandparents class at ALIR.

I must apologize for my poor presentation of the material and the lab for Lesson 6. Although I was able to get the robots to communicate at home, they would not link up properly at ALIR, and so the lab was useless.

I did, however, have some video material on space program robotics, and was able to show several short video clips. The clips showed a variety of activities, including one with an astronaut riding on a workstand at the end of the Space Station RMS. Another clip showed the SRMS and SSRMS handing off and berthing the OBSS (alphabet soup!). SRMS is the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System; SSRMS is the Space Station RMS; OBSS is the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, an extension that carries cameras and other instruments for detailed tile inspection.

Toward the end of the class, our invited speaker, Mike Henry, arrived. Mike shared his enthusiasm for youth robotics, as well as a comprehensive coverage of the various programs for youth robotics in San Antonio. His brief talk was very well received, and I think he may have inspired a couple of new volunteers!

Just a reminder: On Saturday, starting about 10 AM, San Antonio BEST Robotics will hold its 2009 competition, entitled "High Octane". The game theme involves robots of the future operating a fuel refinery. The competition is held at St. Mary's University, in the Greehy Convocation Center. It's a free public event, so please come and cheer on your local team: home school, high school, or middle school. There are 29 teams competing this year, some from as far away as Laredo. I'll be there, and I hope you will, too.

Finally: It has been great fun teaching Robotics for Grandparents this year. I plan to return and teach it in Fall 2009. In the meantime, there are rumors that there could be a similar course for seniors taught as a continuing education course in the Spring. I hope that my students enjoyed Robotics for Grandparents as much as I did!

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