Teaching Robotics to High School Students as it Relates to Advancements in Modern Day Science

Teaching Robotics to High School Students as it Relates to Advancements in Modern Day Science

While some high school students may pay close attention to political news, others get side-tracked with their daily lives, friends, and extracurriculars. Meanwhile, current events in the world of science and technology are also unfolding every day, even if high school students may not be tuned in.

While it may not be the first app students open on their phone each morning, learning about new advancements in the science world can get students excited about how teaching robots and learning more about them can change the future world of STEM. Modern science that uses robots to execute encourages young people to think about how they might contribute someday.

In the past decade, robotics, in particular, have made major strides in the medical field to improve the lives of everyday people.

Many patients who have suffered traumatic injuries or surgeries are left grappling with a new normal, trying to recover and understand their physical abilities. However, many robotics teams across the country and around the world have made it their mission to create robot prototypes that will change these people’s lives forever—from bionic limbs to eSkin and mind control, scientists are putting their wildest imaginations to the test, where robots and medicine collide.

Teaching robotics to children from a young age can plug them into current events in the science world and ultimately gain a deeper appreciation of just what robots are capable. Furthermore, robotics entices students to think about the diverse way robots can benefit the world around us. Ultimately, teaching robots gives students the push to go out and create.


The Robot Surgeon Will See You Now

Some people worry about the ways that robots integrated into our daily lives may begin to take over jobs that were once executed by a human. But the truth is, there are some tasks that require such accuracy, long hours, or repetition, that there may be an advantage to getting robots involved.

Take a surgery conducted in 2006 at a hospital in Milan. The task at hand consisted of a 50-minute surgery to remedy an atrial fibrillation. Many medical professionals around the world were looking on, via webcam.

Furthermore, the robot was actually being controlled thousands of miles away, by Carlo Pappone, head of Arrhythmia and Cardiac Electrophysiology at Milan's San Raffaele University. Pappone matter-of-factly pointed out that the robot had performed 40 operations prior, and was fit to do the job.

Some of the major benefits of robots carrying out such procedures are that they can execute with the highest level of accuracy, and also don’t get tired, as is the risk for surgeons standing hours and hours on end. Furthermore, this particular case carried out cross-Atlantic proves that even in the case a surgeon might not be physically present, that doesn’t mean a robot surgeon can’t just as easily enter the room.

Teaching robots to students who are also interested in medicine can merge the world of medicine and technology in a way that reshapes how students get involved in robotics.

i-LIMB, the Bionic Hand

Then there’s the development in bionic hand/limb technology. What’s more, doctors and scientists at the top of their field are designing these robots to be sold to the masses.

Since initial prototypes rolled out, the technology is becoming more sophisticated with each passing year. By 2007, Touch Bionics had devised an i-limb with articulate, independently operated fingers meaning more movement and flexibility than ever before.

Of course, then the challenge became, how to make a bionic hand look as good as it was functioning. As early as the next year, the company had acquired American company Living skin and then went to work producing bionics covered in as real looking skin as possible.

In the subsequent years, the thirst for innovation and creativity has never ceded. The company has gone on to produce prosthetics that are more lean, flexible, durable, and with a stronger grip. Not only that, but they’ve even developed technology which allows control of the limb with the use of a smartphone app.


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Rex Robotic Exoskeleton, or Bionic Legs

In 2010, a New Zealand company, Rex, presented a project known as Robotic Exoskeleton, with the purpose of creating bionic legs.

The particular goal is to assist paraplegics confined to a wheelchair, but still with perfect mobility in the upper extremities to operate the controls. The bionic legs are held tightly in place using a buckle system to make the user feel as secure as possible.

Up until 2011 researchers on this team and other similar teams had hoped to improve technology if the legs can be controlled by the mind, thus serving patients with more severe cases of paralysis.

Original “E-Skin

Scientists at the University of Tokyo were the next to make big breaks into developing improved E-Skin. In 2008, the challenge became not only how to make bionic limbs look like real human limbs, but how to make skin do its job too.

With increased technology—using a material similar to that of a steering wheel—the robot will actually be able to feel. Think about how crucial this is for everyday human life—we respond instantly if nerve endings just below our skin tell us something is too hot or too cold, too sharp, or tantalizing soft. This is the ultimate goal of E-Skin too.

Paralyzed Patients Use Their Minds To Control A Robot Arm

The big breakthrough came in 2012, under the direction of the BrainGate system. With the use of a minuscule chip inserted into the brain, two stroke victims were able to use this new technology to operate lower extremities using their mind alone.

For the first time, a computer was able to decode neural signals in real time.

Though many thought it couldn’t be done, in just the span of 10 years, scientists went from developing limb bionics to eSkin, to bionics controlled by the mind. This is major, for those who work directly in the medical and robotics professions, and for all those eagerly watching alongside.

Namely: young people. Teaching robotics to students allows each one to consider what a lifelong career and dedication to the field can mean. Likewise, teaching robotics will give students the motivation create, not only for themselves but to improve the lives of others as well.

Derek Capo