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posted: Tue, Sep 30th, 2014

The Humanoid Takeover: Making Science Fiction a Reality

This is one of the new humanoid robots for use in the "Humanoid Robotics and Programming" course at Mount Olive High School.

You may be familiar with the Star Wars franchise and can identify beloved characters such as Luke Skywalker and R2D2, but think for a moment of C3PO, the humanoid protocol droid that Anakin Skywalker rebuilds. Or if the Star Wars franchise does not strike your fancy, think of the robots that Will Smith comes face-to-face with in the more recent film, I-Robot. It may seem like the technology to create a "real" C3PO or human-like droid might be far in the future, but many of Mount Olive's students are getting an opportunity to work on this technology. Advances in robotic technology bring our world closer to making certain aspects of science fiction a reality.

Working with Mr. Grossi are Brooke Speas and Ronald Cupitt.

Students in Mr. Tom Grossi's course, "Humanoid Robotics and Programming" get to experience the humanoid project from the beginning. Mr. Grossi said, "Students use software called Choreographe to program the NAO robots." The course, which is a year-long course in computer programming and robotic technology, is open to all students at Mount Olive High School, from freshmen to seniors. Students will learn how to program various features including the ability for the robot to speak and respond to commands. Mr. Grossi continued, "Ultimately the students will learn how to program the robot to do face recognition, choreograph dances, and hopefully play soccer."

Working in a team on their humanoid are Connor Chinery, Tyson Bomsta, Jackson Growe, Anthony Tran, and Ha-mil Hutty.

Jackson Growe, a freshman in the course, said, "I like designing stuff and seeing how technolgoy works."

Anthony Tran agreed and said he enjoys the class, "Because I'm one of those people who likes to code. I'm a thinker and a tinker."

Jacob Horton, who has been involved with the Mount Olive Robotics Team, said, "I like the class because it's original. It's a little bit different from the other Robotics classes."

While the class is predominately male, there are quite a few MOHS females interested in STEM who have registered for the class, including Brooke Speas and Stephanie Berek. Stephanie is thoroughly enjoying the course so far and said, "Mr. Grossi is awesome, and I like using new technology to make these machines move."

Dr. Reynolds, Superintendent in Mount Olive Township School District, and Mr. Peter Hughes, Curriculum Supervisor for the district, have been hoping to expand the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program in Mount Olive School District. The district recently adopted a "Pathways to Excellence Strategic Plan" and by adopting the STEM philosophy, the students get to use all four aspects of STEM together working towards a common goal. Students get to apply all four parts of STEM as they work on these humanoid robots.

The "Humanoid Robotics and Programming" currently enrolls approximately 70 MOHS students.

The newly created STEM classroom provides the perfect place for student groups to collaborate.

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Mount Olive High School
18 Corey Road Flanders, NJ 07836
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