Workshop organised by Anna Science Centre Planetarium

Robotics is not rocket science was what the one day workshop, ‘Introduction to Robotics' organised by the Anna Science Centre Planetarium in collaboration with Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre, attempted to get across to school students.

Around 60 students from classes 7 to 9 from government and private schools in Tiruchi and surrounding districts participated in the one day workshop that introduced students to the basics of robotics. A team of professors from Indian Institute of Technology- Madras (IIT-M) including G.Satheesh Kumar, R.M.Kuppan Chetty, A.Vimal Antony and T.Suresh also helped participants gain a hands-on experience of assembling robots.

V.Raju, Principal General Manager, BSNL, Tiruchi Telecom District inaugurated the workshop. Noting that students were fortunate to be introduced to robotics at such a young age, he urged them to use the opportunity to increase their interest in the field. Speakers at the workshop predicted that robotics would emerge as a potential field in the next ten years.

In the forenoon session, students were initiated into the electronic and mechanical aspects of robotics including sensors, activators and controllers. In the afternoon session, participants got down to the nitty gritties of building a robot. After a screening of demonstration videos on building robots, they tried their hands at assembling pre-programmed robots from a set of ten instructions. The ‘trackbots' put together by participants were less than a feet high but could sense obstacles and take diversions.

A questionnaire with 20 questions was devised to evaluate knowledge on robotics acquired by the students. R.Ahilan, Planetarium Engineer and J.R.Pazhani Swami, Senior Scientific Assistant, Anna Science Centre also spoke.