A STEM exhibit features a human-like robot, attracting the interest of kids as it moves, builds with blocks, and even waves goodbye.
At Lancaster Science Factory, there is a builder in the science cafe, and his name is Baxter. He can grab blocks, and stack them on top of each other. He can take it apart. And he waves. He’s a robot owned by Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
Baxter is a “pick and place” robot, who is wowing kids as part of the college STEM-in-GEAR program, that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math.
The free workshop featuring Baxter is held weekdays for students in grades 3-8. Baxter moves building blocks and water bottles and interacts with kids using small robotic cars that they operate with a television remote control.
“In the future,” said Rich Nolt, the exhibit’s instructor, “robots could be cleaning your room and … (doing) stuff that we usually don’t like doing.”
Nolt believe that inspiring awe in kids at what happens in science is what the workshop is all about.
“I think it’s all just about helping kids discover where their passion is, what lights their fire,” said Nolt, who teaches technical education at Manheim Township High School. “That’s what kids struggle with in school — being motivated.”