“The idea is for the adult coaches to supervise, but let the kids figure the stuff out for themselves,” Caroddo said.
The girls’ robot is nine inches long and six inches high and resembles a front-loading dump truck. It must navigate through more than 10 maneuvers on a tabletop obstacle course –– without human interference once it is placed at a starting mark and switched on.
Dressler, a software engineer, said he gave the girls a tutorial on computer programming fundamentals; then they began using the Lego Mindstorm software to preprogram the robot’s motions.
As part of their research and brainstorming for an idea that could benefit seniors’ quality-of-life, the girls went to Sunrise Senior Living’s assisted living facility in East Meadow to speak with residents there.
“At the senior center, we saw all the vision problems [seniors] have,” Kerri said.
Jadyn first came up with an idea for a video camera that visually impaired people could wear on their bodies, from which they could receive signals to the brain. She and her teammates retooled the concept into its current form, a proposal they call “RoboEyes.”
The team’s design calls for two miniature video cameras to be surgically implanted in a blind or nearly blind recipient, one to the side of each of his or her eyes, and a receiver chip to be surgically implanted in the recipient’s visual cortex, at the back of the brain. The cameras could send radio signals to the receiver, powered by the brain’s electrical currents. A RoboEyes recipient would wear a bracelet that would allow him or her to control where the cameras in his or her head would look, also via a radio signal.
For more information, check out www.roboticcookiemonsters.com.