Deanna Csomo McCool | March 14, 2017
Tony Kramer and Sam Chippas, seniors at Marian High School, combined their interests in electrical engineering and computer science to develop a robotics project for the March 4 Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NIREF) at Notre Dame.
The project included a self-designed motherboard that controls sensors and motors to move the robot– an upright structure with 3D-printed arms that can keep its balance and “learn” through artificial intelligence. Their system can be used in applications where humans could be sickened or injured, Chippas said.
The fair featured 260 projects with topics from ecology to computer science. Students in grades 3-12 from more than 40 schools in four northern Indiana counties competed in three age divisions for a variety of awards. Twenty projects – 10 from the elementary-junior divisions and 10 from the high school division – were chosen to represent northern Indiana in the 29th Annual Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair on April 1 at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.
Science fairs are valuable for students of all ages because children are born with a natural curiosity about the world around them, said Micha Kilburn, executive director of the NIRSEF and assistant professional specialist in the University’s physics department.
“Science experiments can teach skills such as problem solving, math and logic skills, the ability to learn new technology, attention to detail, and creativity,” she said. “Presenting the experiment at a science fair also teaches communication skills.”