Lunabotics Exploration Event for Middle and High School Students Is February 17

MINE Enterprise logo
Zumi robot

The Michigan Tech Multiplanetary Innovation Enterprise (MINE) team will host a free STEM engagement event for middle and high school students on Saturday, February 17, 2024, from 1-5 p.m. in Fisher Hall, Room 133. Programming experience is not required. Registration requested.

Participants will learn about the challenges associated with robotics in lunar environments, and the MINE team will share their experiences building robots for NASA’s Lunabotics Competition. Following, students will engage in hands-on activities, including programming activities with Zumi robots.

Michigan Tech undergraduates John Dagg (Mechanical Engineering) and Ben Bistline (Computer Engineering) are developing the Zumi robot cars and activities for the event. They are part of the Zumi Undergraduate Research Group (ZURG), which is advised by faculty member Leo Ureel, Department of Computer Science.

The event is presented as part of the MINE Enterprise’s participation in NASA’s Lunabotics Competition.

The Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise (MINE) works in multidisciplinary groups to develop technology to perform tasks in extreme environments on Earth and on other planets. MIME members participate in NASA’s Lunabotics Competition and they build and test robotic vehicles and technologies for a variety of customers (government, commercial, internal).

The Zumi Undergraduate Research Group (ZURG) aims to incorporate robotics into introductory programming courses at Michigan Tech. Led by undergraduates John Dagg and Ben Bistline, the group has repurposed Zumi, a commercial K-12 education-based robot, for Java learning in a college environment and developed labs for introductory programming courses.

The NASA Lunabotics Competition features a systems engineering design challenge to engage students in the next phase of human space exploration supporting the Artemis missions. This two-semester event encourages students to design and build an autonomous or telerobotic robot designed to traverse the simulated Lunar surface and complete the assigned construction tasks.

Zumi, made by Robolink, is a tiny buildable self-driving car kit that makes artificial intelligence approachable. The device teaches about how autonomous cars use sensors and cameras to navigate around the world and learn about the environment using AI. The vehicle can be coded using Blockly or Python.