On Friday, February 2, 2024, True Robotics, Inc. hosted a free 2-hour robotics workshop for students at Gerald Creamer Center (GCC) in Worcester, MA. There were two sessions each containing roughly 35 students. Each student had the opportunity to not only build and drive the True Robotics "Pilot Robot Kit," but also interact and explore the capabilities of new state of the art robots.
Sparking Imaginations with the Pilot Robot Kit
The workshop at Gerald Creamer Center was a truly delightful experience as reserved students became more confident by building robots. The morning started with students slowly filtering into the school's cafeteria and gathering at tables around our Pilot Robot Kits. Each table had two robot kits and was set up to handle between six and eight students. Once all the students were seated and the workshop began, the students had a slow and silent approach as they started to pick up the robot pieces out of the boxes. Students were instructed by the True Robotics staff to find the assembly instructions and start on step one.
The Thrill of the Build
Starting from scratch, students began matching parts with the instruction's illustrations. It was like connecting the dots—though in this instance, connecting nuts, screws, and wires. Students started to realize, 'Hey, I can actually do this,' and with that, their conversations grew, and reservations started to leave. Groups started asking more questions and helping one another. It was as if with each component students fitted together, they were becoming more confident in themselves. For us at True Robotics, it's one thing to teach the theory behind STEM subjects, but to see the students' eyes light up as they connected each part is a reminder of why True Robotics exists; to inspire more students. Witnessing their thought processes and problem-solving was a testament to the potential that these young minds hold.
Racing to Learn
The real excitement began when the newly assembled Pilot Robots hit the floor. The students controlled their robots, maneuvering them through impromptu obstacle courses we set up. The energy in the room was electric. Once all the groups finished building, the whole session of students headed to the hallway to race. Principal Dr. Diggs promised the winning team the prize of 2 free snacks each from the school store. With each successful turn or speedy straight, the once-quiet students were bursting into cheers, celebrating each other's successes.
Beyond the Basics
This workshop wasn't just about the basics of robotics. We brought along our advanced robot dog from Unitree, showcasing the latest in robotic technology. It walked, it detected obstacles, and it showed students the thrilling direction robotics is heading towards.
Honored Guests and Future Pathways
We were privileged to host several distinguished guests, including Worcester Mayor Joe Petty and WPI's Dean of the Business School Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson. Also in attendance was Vernon Hill School Principal Craig Dottin, WPI Entrepreneur in Residence Darnell Dunn, and WPI Business School Associate Director Thomas Clark. Their presence underscored the importance of community in education and the potential pathways these students could take, possibly even to WPI one day, a beacon of STEM excellence in Worcester.
True Robotics left Gerald Creamer Center full of hope and excitement for the future of these students. For us at True Robotics, it's not just about the robots. It's about making STEM more accessible for students from all different backgrounds.
We want to extend our gratitude to Principal Dr. Brenda Diggs, Chrissie Sawyer, and Enrique Sanchez for hosting us, and a big shout-out to our True Robotics team members President Anthony Galgano, Harold Wotton, Daniel Martin, Hunter Lassard, and Ryan Gottwald, who were instrumental in delivering an inspiring workshop.