Two groups of 12 – 15 year olds were the first to participate in the Northern Lakes College Robotics Summer Camp. Including virtual reality, 3D printing, and robotics, the one-day camp was held at the High Prairie Main Campus on July 23 and the Slave Lake Campus on July 25.
Chief Information Officer for Northern Lakes College, Bruce D’Sena, leveraged the skills within the College’s Information Technology department to create the camp. “We have incredibly skilled and knowledgeable people working in Information Technology at NLC and we’re committed to providing students a best-in-class experience. The cutting edge technologies, like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, that students explored in our summer camp are also being harnessed to support a number of our College programs, so it was a natural fit to create and host the camp,” he comments.
Students assembled the components of a robot, built using a 3D printer. Artificial intelligence capability allowed participants to customize their robot, including gender, voice, and language, and enabled the robots to respond to voice commands, tell jokes, and recognize objects using machine vision. Camp participant Simon, 13, comments, “This camp is really fun! My favourite is the 3D printing. It is amazing to see reality shaped by a machine, and how smart AI (artificial intelligence) can be.”
Students also had an opportunity to experience augmented reality, where virtual things are experienced in the real world. Wearing specially-designed goggles that they assembled themselves, participants held a physical cardboard cube, on which virtual characters appeared. Trying out the latest headsets being deployed in the College’s regular programming, participants had the opportunity to experience virtual reality and had fun with a few action-packed activities in a virtual world.
At the end of a fun day, students left with a set of NLC Goggles and their 3D creations.