By Rachel Anderson
Not many students get to try their hand at a future career, but for students enrolled at Delaware Technical & Community College’s (DTCC) RoboCamp, students are propelled into the world of engineering through the use of robotics. At RoboCamp, 13 to 15-year-old students work with engineering instructors to assemble, design and program voice and motion activated security control robots. RoboCamp is a DTCC Career Camp which is designed and offered in partnership with the Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership (DEMEP) to provide an opportunity for students to experience activities related to a career path that they can pursue in the future.
The camp gives students who are interested in engineering, robotics or manufacturing a chance to learn about these areas through practical application. Working with instructors from the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department, students utilize a specialized campus engineering lab that is equipped with eight personal computers that run engineering-related software solutions. Working professionals use similar applications to solve complex technical problems in industry. Students in the camp will do comparable work by programming and designing the internal mechanisms that make the robot understand commands and carry out programmed actions.
Making this connection about automation and its impact on manufacturing is an integral part of the lessons of RoboCamp, according to instructors. “Manufacturing robots lower the cost and increase productivity,” says DTCC camp instructor Archana Sharma. “The RoboCamp is a fun way to generate interest in robotics.” Campers learn about several key technical areas which are essential to the manufacturing world such as human machine interface, taking a concept to a final design, project management, time management, safety, field testing of the design and product evaluation.
“I felt that the camp was a great experience for the kids because they were able to take real world technologies like programming and building robots and have hands-on experience with it,” says Alex Linsner, a youth care worker in the camp and an aerospace engineer major at Virginia Tech University.
The advanced technical nature of this camp and the equipment required to provide such a genuine experience are made possible by DEMEP, which has been sponsoring the camp for three years. “The Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership sponsors this camp in order to give students the opportunity to experience manufacturing in a real world setting,” says DEMEP Director Steve Quindlen.
Based on the success of previous camps, DTCC will be offering two sections of RoboCamp this summer. The camps will take place July 12 to 16 and July 19 to 23. All camps take place at the DTCC Stanton Campus from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The camp is open to students ranging from 13-to-15-years old. Please note, the first week (July 12 to 16) is a beginner level camp and the second week (July 19 to 23) is an advanced camp. Students must have completed the beginner level camp in 2009 or 2010 prior to attending the advanced camp.
The cost for RoboCamp is $170 per week. For more information, contact the DTCC Summer Camp Office at (302) 453-3041 or go to www.dtcc.edu/ccpsw/camps
Rachel Anderson is the pre-college programs manager at Delaware Technical & Community College.