Hun School Robotics Class Inspired by Hyundai Motors Automotive Innovations

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The Hun Middle School’s robotics class spent a week building and programming robots that work together to move as a convoy this fall. Inspired by recent automotive innovations by Hyundai Motors, including lane assist technology and automatic emergency braking systems, eight students from the sixth and seventh grades worked in groups to determine how they could apply those ideas to Lego-based programmable robots.

Hun Middle School students Griffin Mumme ’20 and Gibson Campbell ’21 worked together to make design adjustments to their convoy robots.

Hun Middle School students Griffin Mumme and Gibson Campbell worked together to make design adjustments to their convoy robots.

This project gave students the independence to engineer robots that performed specific criteria. How they got to a final product was very much up to them. The variables they encountered pushed them to use their creativity and problem solving skills.

The Hun Middle School’s robotics class spent a week building and programming robots that work together to move as a convoy this fall. Inspired by recent automotive innovations by Hyundai Motors, including lane assist technology and automatic emergency braking systems, eight students from the sixth and seventh grades worked in groups to determine how they could apply those ideas to Lego-based programmable robots.

Students of Chris Cooper’s robotics class derived motivation for the project from a recent advertisement, the Empty Convoy, in which Hyundai Motors illustrated the capabilities of new technologies in the automotive industry.

“I wanted the students to get excited about this project. The Hyundai video is such a dramatic example of how automation in industry can be creatively applied. It was a great segue for us to begin designing robots to function with a purpose.”

The goal of the project was to create a series of robots that would follow one another, stop when an obstacle got in the lead robot’s way, and resume motion, once the obstacle was removed.

“I really enjoyed working in a group and having the freedom to figure out the best solutions to design our robots,” said Lena Nahas ’21. “There wasn’t a right or wrong answer. There were different ways of solving problems to make our robots work together.”

Mr. Cooper explained, “This project gave students the independence to engineer robots that performed specific criteria. How they got to a final product was very much up to them. The variables they encountered – from build design, to the surfaces of the ‘roads’ – pushed them to use their creativity and problem solving skills.”

During the process of the build, students enjoyed a breakthrough moment when they realized they could move the robot’s infrared sensor. By doing so, their robots began ‘seeing’ other robots more efficiently. It also opened the door to greater possibilities in the design of the robots.

“Students were allowed to use prescribed building designs, however, they were also encouraged to think creatively and intentionally, so that their robots could perform the tasks that were assigned. The most inspired work took place once students began to make alterations to their bots, because they saw a need to enhance the robots’ performance.”

About The Hun School of Princeton:    

The Hun School of Princeton is a co-educational, private day and boarding school in Princeton, New Jersey. Individual attention and strong student-faculty relationships are the hallmarks of the School. On the 45-acre campus between Philadelphia and New York City, student-centered, hands-on learning prepare students for the global community in which they will live and work. The Hun School is comprised of 630 students in its Middle School, Upper School, and Postgraduate Program. The Hun School is home to students from twenty-three countries and eighteen states.

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Maureen Leming
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