Middle School Students Get Lesson in Robotics - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Middle School Students Get Lesson in Robotics

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What can roll, walk, fly or swim? Robots or autonomous mobile agents at the University of Florida. A professor and two doctoral students visited Everitt Middle School Friday to talk about these interesting machines.

"Once the students hear about something that's kind of fun and exciting, they'll do it," said Dr. Eric Schwartz, with the Machine Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Florida.

Schwartz showed students the advanced science students just how important robots are in our society.

"We need more engineers in America. China and India graduate ten times the numbers we do," said Schwartz.

What better way to motivate the students than letting them get their hands on an underwater special vehicle?

"This is tangible; it's not just something they see in a video. This is real. Students built this with their own hands," said Schwartz.

Patrick Walters is one of the students who put hundreds of hours into building SubjuGator.

"It's mainly designed for a competition in San Diego, California every year," said Walters

It's a world-wide competition. SubjuGator has won three against more than two dozen competitors.

"A lot of the tasks at the competition are based around real world situations, such as surveying gas pipe lines," said Walters.

The group also publishes research findings with SubjuGator.

However, among all of the hard work, Dr. Schwartz wants these young students to know learning can be fun.

The group also spoke at Surfside Middle School and at the Panhandle Gator Club's meeting. Saturday, they'll take advantage of the area's beautiful gulf waters and test SubjuGator.