Renaissance Robotics has always wanted to reach further with all STEAM outreach events. We created a relationship with Just Cause Education Outreach, a non-profit whose mission is to educate under served students in Uganda, Africa. Since the beginning, our partnership has grown every year and has resulted in us working together on STEAM outreach events and long distance mentoring.
During summer 2016 a member of our team went with Just Cause to Uganda for part of the summer. The idea came about to create a cross-continental Rube Goldberg machine! The students sent us a tweet that lit up our iPad screen, triggering the light sensor on a Lego robot to start our Chain Reaction. We sent the chain back by calling a cell phone in Uganda that vibrated and fell into a cup attached to a pulley to start their chain which eventually ended with a Lego robot popping a balloon full of candy!. Each side was enthusiastically watching to see what the other created and both truly admired each other's machine; it was a fantastic project and everyone had a smile on their face from start to end. To see the official document, click here.
For the past few summers, Renaissance Robotics students have provided kids at our library workshops a chance to meet new people through participating in something they enjoy: LEGO! We have arranged for Google Hangouts between kids here and in Uganda to show each other what they have created with the same LEGO Mindstorms. Through these show and tell activities as well as the face to face conversations with each other, everyone was able to see that creativity is universal and technology has the capacity to connect people who normally would never meet. We partner with a Canadian STEM Charity Just Cause Education Outreach to make these events happen.
In honour of the Olympic Games happening in Rio De Janerio in the summer of 2016, Renaissance Robotics teamed up with a Non-Profit Organization to create the "RoboRio E-lympics" for robots & humans to compete in a team man-vs-machine challenge! Students at our Public Library Workshop made robots to compete in robotic sprints, ball throw, soccer penalty kicks and rhythmic gymnastics. Then, those students competed in human competitions and recorded their events live, uploading them online. In their own time zones, students in Uganda as well as Colombia participated in the same events and uploaded theirs. Each group then watched the others videos and calculated their times and statistics comparing to their own country's record holders, each recording the other's results in a Google Sheet. The event culminated in a live Google Hangout for a cross-continental robotics competitions and the results were scaled to decide who was the winner: humans or machines and from which nation! You can access the E-Lympic event activities in our resource library and try them out too!
VEX Teams in Uganda & International Tournaments
Through this amazing partnership and working with the students in Uganda, we have been able to help create the first VEX team in Jinja, Uganda: J-Robotics Team #99885J in 2016! Through providing equipment, online mentorship and back and forth communication, we have helped these students with their online competitions. To visit their website, click here.
With the help of FIRST Canada, two 4525 mentors traveled to Uganda in May 2017 to take J-Robotics to their first STEAM competition in Kampala called "GISU Tech" that feature kids form 11 countries. We helped them prepare with many messaging sessions to troubleshoot their bots leading up to the competition day and provided additional parts like sensors that our mentors brought over to the team.The students were extremely successful with silver medals in Hardware Development, Open Line Follower (they used VEX) and bronze in LEGO Sumo, Line follower and App Development. This May we are going to sponsor the team again to go for gold!
In 2017 we founded a second VEX team the Fusbots in Nazigo, Uganda and helped our original Ugandan team act as mentors the new team.
We received an IEEE Canada grant to fund an official tournament for these 2 Ugandan teams in December 2017 - and we got to compete with them live via Skype! It was a fantastic experience for all 3 teams and we are hosting a second tournament in July 2018!
FLL India & Outreach Extension
We sponsored equipment so that 3 FLL teams in Hyderabad, India could join in the fun with the 2017 Hydro Dynamics season! We communicated with the 3 teams throughout their build season to help share our knowledge and experiences with these rookies and their new teacher-mentors so they could "learn the ropes".
While we mentored our Canadian FLL teams we also mentored our own FRC mentor who was working in India for the year so that she was not on her own without support taking on this unfamiliar venture. We are so happy for all 3 teams and proud of their success at the Bangalore, India Regional - inducing winning the Project Award!
We sent LEGO Robotics kits to the students who took part in FLL so they could create an outreach event of their own.They are giving the bot & our team's curriculum into activities to a government school in Telengana province. Together we selected an all-girls school that has just one computer at present to receive the kit and the training for grade 6 & 7 students and their teachers. The goal is to help the girls at this school take part in the Indian Government's Science Exposition with their Robot in December 2018.
In addition, our own library workshop activities were used & translated into Telugu & Hindi to host 5 under-served government schools at a 50 student robotics tournament in Hyderabad, India!