Recently a group of our 7th grade students from John Glenn Middle School went on a field trip to iRobot, a robotics company located right here in Bedford. These students, who take the 7th grade Tech Ed course, toured the iRobot the design lab and robotic museum. While most students are familiar with the Roomba, the circular household vacuuming robot, this field trip highlighted many other robotic devices created by iRobot and the design process necessary for constructing working and useful robots. According to the company website, iRobot describes itself as "the leading global consumer robot company, designs and builds robots that empower people to do more both inside and outside of the home". Upon entering the iRobot building, students were greeted by engineers and managers with the goal to learn more about the robotic engineering design process and to see real world applications.
The door to the iRobot museum accurately stated, "Cool Stuff".
Once inside, our middle school students learned about the many design considerations that went into building a functioning Roomba.
Students were able to learn about the evolution of robotic design at iRobot and how the company has learned from past design failures to make improvements. To this point, one engineer shared with our students that, when building robots, "Every design decision has a consequence. There is no perfect solution". Our students were able to see many different types of robots, used for a wide array of purposes.
At one point during the tour, a telepresence mobile robot came around the corner controlled by a former Bedford High School graduate to say hello to our students. Definitely a very cool and inspiring experience for our middle school students.
Thank you to Mr. Ruscito and Mr. King, our Technology Education teachers, for organizing this exciting opportunity for our middle school students.
Mr. Kevin Tracey