Some adults can remember when robots were relegated to old science fiction stories.
But this past week, Jackson County middle school students had the chance to learn how robots and other objects were made during the three-day Fast Pass to Advanced Manufacturing Summer Camp at Aisin Holdings of America Inc. in Seymour.
On Thursday, five students worked with Aisin USA Mfg. Inc. engineers and Ivy Tech Community College instructors on a robotics building portion of the camp, puzzling over pieces of VEX robots. Those are relatively simple robots designed for students to assemble to learn the basics of robotics and program.
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“We are focusing on robotics because robots are in the spotlight and a large part of life today,” said Jackie Hill, workforce director with Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. “The careers for those able to work with them are in high demand.”
This is the first year for the partnership between the three groups, although other robotics camps have been conducted at the Jackson County Learning Center and Aisin in the past.
Ivy Tech Community College offered Fast Pass to Advanced Manufacturing Summer Camp in various locations throughout southern Indiana.
The students were given an in-depth tour of the Aisin facility in Seymour, specifically looking at the robots used in the company and the position employees played in the facility.
Many of the students said they originally new very little about the company.
“I didn’t know they made door frames for cars,” said Seymour Middle School eighth-grader Brandon Hubbard.
The students also were taken through the training routines given to a new employee at the plant, learning how to do several of the basics of the jobs that could be asked.
“The students did a good job with the touring,” said Bob Sexton, a Seymour High School teacher who served as an instructor at the camp. “They learned how to follow instructions, did an assembly line with Legos and spent time in the safety training.”
After touring and training, the students learned about VEX robots and started assembling them.
On Friday, they learned about computer programming to program the robots to respond to remote-control commands.
“We wanted to make it fun, maybe get them interested in a career in engineering,” said Sarah Foist with Aisin USA Mfg. Inc. “Even if they just go into high school with a different mindset, they may see new opportunities.”