Mr. Taber’s students got to visit Cal Poly to check out their robot. Photo contributed.
On Sept. 26, Mr. Taber's Robotics students went on a field trip to Cal Poly to see an army robot. Students had the opportunity to drive the robot through an obstacle course and have it retrieve an object, then bring it back to where they started, all while only looking through the camera feed on the robot.
This 20-year-old, four-feet tall, $70,000 robot was once used to diffuse bombs, but is now retired. It is equipped with two cameras and a claw arm that has three pivot points to maneuver in any direction. The driver has no direct vision, so he or she has to look through the “eyes” of the robot. To do this, the cameras can be used to see in any direction.
“It was interesting seeing how the robot functioned and getting to figure out how the robot was controlled,” said Luis Velasco, a student on the field trip.
According to Mr. Taber, getting to drive a real-life robot was a great way to expose the class to robotics skills and reinforce what he teaches in class. “The field trip went very smoothly thanks to the army; they were extremely prepared,” he said.
Mr. Taber’s Robotics students were well received by the pros at Cal Poly. Station Commander at the Paso Robles Recruiting Station Leon Guerrero commented, “The US Army that were on site have told us your students were some of the most respectful and engaging students they have worked with while on the West Coast.”