Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), home of the nation's first major program in robotics engineering, will expand its extensive array of K-12 robotics competitions and education programs by sponsoring the inaugural Junior Robotics Challenge in August. Designed for students who will enter grades 6-8 this fall, the weeklong on-campus program will teach students to build robots and program them to perform tasks. At the conclusion of each of the two sessions, participants will pit their robots against one another in friendly competition. The fee is $250. To register, or for more information, visit the JRC website, www.wpi.edu/Academics/Summer/JRC/index.html.
August 4-8 and August 11-15, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, Mass.
In response toan increasing demand for robots and robotics systems to meet national needs in areas such as defense and security, elder care, and automation of household tasks, and acknowledging the escalating interest in robots among young people, WPI launched the nation's first bachelor's degree program in robotics engineering in 2007. The major, which incorporates electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science, is preparing a new breed of engineer with the skills and imagination to develop intelligent machines that go beyond today's reality.
The major program also draws on WPI's extensive experience with K-12 robotics education. The university each year hosts several well-attended robotics competitions that engage more than 1,200 local and regional elementary-, middle-, and high-school students. For example, RoboNautica is an official FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League state championship tournament. BattleCry@WPI,for high school FIRST Robotics teams, is one of the largest robotics contests in New England. In addition, university faculty, staff, and students conduct robotics demonstrations at dozens of schools and organizations throughout the region and work with K-12 schools on curriculum development and other robotics outreach programs. Robotics education is also a key element in a number of WPI's science and engineering summer enrichment camps.