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Toying With Technology: Robotics Video

An engineering lab in Howe Hall buzzed with energy Tuesday as 12 blind high school students worked in teams to disassemble, assemble, and reprogram robots built from intricate LEGO pieces. They strategized, they speculated, they laughed, and they proclaimed success.

No one said “I can’t.”

The students were from an Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) summer transition program, which works with blind and visually impaired youth ages 14—21 to help them succeed academically and professionally. They were on the Iowa State University campus to participate in a two-day science camp for high school students being coordinated by the state agency. Tuesday’s activities featured the engineering-based Toying with Technology workshop.

The workshop was conducted by University Professor Larry Genalo and three student assistants. Toying With Technology is designed to explain the principles behind many of the technological innovations in wide use today. The workshop uses hands-on laboratory experiences based upon simple robots, known as Mindstorms Rovers, constructed out of LEGOs and controlled by small microcomputers. During the workshop, students are given programming challenges that they must solve through teamwork and with the guidance of college mentors.

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