Diedra coordinates Kod*lab’s projects and outreach. She is an intermedia artist and curator working at the intersection of art and engineering. Her ongoing project Plastic Fantastic, a geodesic dome built from 6000 water bottles, is an immersive environment for play. Diedra has an MFA from VCFA and an MA from Monash University in developmental studies.
During the summer of 2017, ten middle school math and science teachers conducted robotics research at Penn Engineering. Melanie Young, 7th grade math teacher, describes her experience with Jianbo Shi’s lab and her mentor Yuanqi Su.
During the summer of 2016, the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences hosted 10 middle school math and science teachers from the School District of Philadelphia. The teachers spent 6+ weeks learning about and conducting research in the field of robotics while developing curriculum that could be applied in their classrooms in order to inspire and develop engineering and computer science skills in their students. Three of those teachers and their experiences in the program, are represented here. Funding for the Robotics Research Experience for Teachers program comes from the National Science Foundation (#1542301). For more information, visit: https://www.grasp.upenn.edu/programs/….
Penn undergraduate, Anna Brill, took a year off from research with Kod*lab to be a Robot Technician for the Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago’s Robot Revolution. In this video, get to know Anna at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, her next stop with the exhibit after Chicago before returning to Penn Engineering to start her senior year. Check it out to hear Anna’s story and learn about her exciting and unique career path into research and robotics.
Undergraduates working in Kod*lab are important to the lab’s success in building robots and advancing research. The students’ experiences have often led to undergraduate-authored refereed publications and exciting careers in robotics. Kod*lab’s recent undergraduate research assistants, Shafag Idris ’15, Electrical and Systems Engineering, and Justin Starr ’15, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, share their experiences and insight while working in Kod*lab and post-graduation plans.
Art and Robots
Trashbots was a workshop developed by Sonia Roberts and Diedra Krieger for the event “Be a Pennovator” as part of the 2017 Philadelphia Science Festival. Middle school students created locomoting robots using motors, 2 rechargable AAA batteries, post-consumer materials, wire, laser cut acrylic and basic art supplies. The concepts of energy and physical programming were demonstrated using working Trashbots and practiced during an introductory exercise making a vibrating motor from a spinning one. Participants then created a legged robot of their own design using iterative experimentation and took their final creations home with them.
On Saturday, October 11, 2014, nine high school students from The Franklin Institute’s (TFI) Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science (PACTS) program participated in Kodlab’s art and robotics workshop, “TOBI in the House”. Students collaborated in groups of 3 to produce a video art piece with TOBI (teaching oriented biologically inspired) Robot, a four-legged robot, by developing a narrative, creating a set design and physically programming the robot’s performance. This was one of the videos from the workshop.
Penn engineering students were motivated to learn how to program a legged robot using the narrative of a “dance competition,” with the winning dances to be showcased at the Philadelphia Science Festival in 2014.