A frisbee-launching robot. Things that fly. Gizmos made from motorized Legos.
Those were a few of the many robotic delights on display at the Philly Robotics Expo Monday. The Philly Tech Week event brought some 750 Philadelphia area students, ranging from second graders to high schoolers, to Drexel’s Bossone Research Center.
And, oh yeah: The event itself was organized by high schoolers.
“The whole reason we did this event is just to show kids what STEM is all about,” said Meghan Ho, referring to the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math fields. “A lot of these kids don’t get that exposure.”
Ho is the elder stateswoman of the robotics expo. A freshman at Temple, she’s helping out as this year’s “mentor event coordinator.” She’s a recent graduate of the Central High School Robolancers. That’s the group putting on the expo in partnership with other robotics clubs, working scientists and local companies.
The Robolancers club, which has 99 members this year, is Central’s largest, according to Etienne Jacquot, a current student and the expo’s coordinator.
He says the goal of the event is opening eyes to cool things in science fields that students might otherwise find dull.
“The school district has been hit so hard with budget cuts, so a lot of the robotics programs around the city have been closed,” said Jacquot. “We’re one of the teams that have been able to stay afloat. So we’re trying to give back.
“We’re really trying to show these kids that there’s something more out there, and that robotics is something that’s awesome.”