Four students from Bessie Coleman Middle School’s robotics club invented a robot cane for the visually impaired that buzzes and vibrates when it comes close to an obstacle.
The students at the Cedar Hill Independent School District campus were told by their teacher to come up with a solution for a real-world problem, and the cane is what they came up with.
The “robot seeing-eye dog,” called, Panopticane, has a motor and sensor that can sense objects from a distance of 50 inches, a touchscreen menu, and a battery that can be recharged. The cane is constructed from a Lego robotics kit.
Last year, the students’ invention of a trash can that emits a screeching noise when it gets too full, dubbed Nag-Bot 2.0, earned second-place at regionals and the students’ first trip to state.
“State was heart-lifting because I didn’t think we would have a chance to make it.”
“State was heart-lifting because I didn’t think we would have a chance to make it,” seventh-grader Ayzlin Sikes told the The Dallas Morning News. “We were mostly in shock at regionals.”
The “gotta blast!” team originally consisted of seventh-graders Carah Allen, team captain, and Sikes, and now eighth-grader Brandon Blanco and sixth-grader Kevin Sulco are on the team.
Teacher Edward Lie and Principal Jason Miller said that they hope this robotics club will serve as a gateway to the school’s new STEAM program, launching next school year.
“When you see kids like this, they think outside the box,” Miller told Morning News. “Sometimes they might be frustrated because they question things, and we have to accommodate them. We have to allow them to be risk-takers.”
Read more about the invention here.
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