The Heat of the Intro to the Final Challenge

One of the greatest moments in during the ARX was when the final challenge was introduced. All through the first two days we had programmed simply in syntax on making the robot move forward. This morning we are going to start working on our final challenge and every group is high on its toes.

DSC00082

 

We were expecting a day like this on the ARX schedule so we could apply what we have experienced so far.  Having been introduced to the final challenge, we started working on its structure and program in RobotC; we are to program an AMA police prototype. The mission of this AMA prototype is to demolish all unwanted structures in Accra on automation (that is by itself); this is a problem that the AMA wants to solve. We are to build and program this robot to navigate through a maze representing the streets of Accra, to get to its target and demolish it.

DSC00095

I believe this challenge will help us go beyond what we are familiar with. All groups needed to program an ultrasonic sensor, a touch sensor and a light sensor to assist the robot in its navigation; we were all way out of our comfort zones. Back in the lab, some had built and written the programs with the support of their mentors from Ashesi University; programming the robot for this task was definitely complicated. Still with the heat on-going, we had to break for our recreational activity.

DSC00090

DSC00094Indeed, upon hearing what the final challenge was, the excitement in the room was heightened. I took it as a new experience, a new challenge and a path to grow.

Mikpekoah, Aaron, Andrews and Blankson

The Fantastic Tuesday.

The day started on a boring note and we thought it would continue like that through the morning, until 1:30pm, then voila! Things changed for the best!

Alumni Panel

DSCN3557

One of the panel members sharing some experiences.

DSCN3559

It all started when the alumni panel introduced us to Computer Science and Management Information Systems (MIS).  In fact the excitement rose within us like smoke rising from fire all the way to the sky; when the panel shared light on what these various fields were, it was filling an empty barrel with water. We felt totally content having the opportunity to know what the future holds for us. The information session made us know the importance of all the various subjects we learn in high school. This combination of subjects is just like software and hardware being combined to make a robot work.

Oh My, A Lollipop Robot?!

After a fifteen minute break, we went to the computer laboratories and entered the world of robotics. It was quite a surprise on finding out the task that lay ahead of us. From our usual Lego kits we were made to build another robot from basic materials we see every day. In building the lollybot we used a game controller, redesigned a circuit board and did a lot of other interesting stuff.

DSCN3667

The finished Lollybot

DSCN3647

The ARX is indeed a worthwhile experience and we can boldly say it has made us the ‘primus inter pares’ despite the numerous challenges we might have faced due to our infancy in in this field. On the bright side this experience proved to be an eye opener to the problems in our environment, and encourage us to find and use simple materials to build simple robots to solve them.

Roland, Leslie and Samuel

The Truth About A Myth.

People say somethings are for men only but what is your opinion? Are somethings really for men only or girls can do all that boys can do? For sometime now, we have been wondering about what  the truth of this myth really is. Today the answer came knocking at our door. ARX Day 2 has been very interesting and fun. If you want to discover the answer too; read on.

DSCN3483

DSCN3480

Tools to be used to build the Lollybot.

It was a blast. The day had a lot of surprises in store for us. The co-founder of the program and a lecturer at Ashesi University, Dr. Ayorkor Korsah introduces us to Computer Science and Robotics.You actually built a robot without the use of the NXT Lego kit! During the lecture, we learnt that some materials such as metal, plastic, wood, cameras, microphones, desktops or laptops can all be used to build robots. An example of such robot is the Lollybot, and that’s what we did today.

Secondly, it was amazing! Honestly building a lollybot is not that easy. It involves both the mechanical, the electrical parts of engineering and a lot of hardwork. All the work to be done in building our Lollybot was not left on the boys as one would have expected. Girls soldered using the soldering iron and solder, they used the hot glue guns, pliers and the drilling machine. Saving the best for last,  the girls also used the hacksaw blade to do some cuttings. I know right! What we saw and did today truly convinced us that indeed girls can do what boys can do.

DSCN3518

Participants build the Lollybot.

DSCN3542

Never had we imagined constructing a robot on our own. We made light sensors on our own by using pieces of papers as our motherboard and we had to connect resistors, LED’s and made wire connections. We also made bump sensors by attaching a lollypop to the joystick of the game pad. Both boys and girls of my team played active roles in the construction.

DSCN3673

What happened today is something you need to see if you believe in the myth. I hope you are now convinced that indeed girls can do what boys can do. The work on the Lollybot was a lot and we were not able to finish but we are waiting to see how the final Lollybot will look like.

Linda and Mercy

A Human with Apple Sensors?!

The spectacular emergence of the human with ‘apple sensors’ aside the regular light, color, sound and ultra-sonic sensors that the young ARX 2013 engineers know, was during the Monday night’s gaming activity.

DSC06504

Armitage Annang, the human with ‘apple sensors’ amazingly picked up floating apples in water in a bowl in seven seconds. The bobbing apple competition was just one of the many fun packed activities that rocked the Ashesi Campus that night. The night’s activities included games like scrabble, FIFA tournaments, monopoly, cards and many unfamiliar but fascinating ones.

DSC06477DSC06478DSC06475

The ARX 2013 recreational activities with respect to Monday night really helped us relax and get to now other participants and mentors. The game night started at 7pm at the basketball court and the Bill and Jeanne lounge, peaked at 8pm and finally came to a close at about 9pm. This experience was thrilling, educative and motivating, everyone had fun.

Bill, Romeo, Godwin and Eugene

Our Experience While the Sun Was Up.

Henrietta Ampofo (H), Belinda Zomayi (B) and Rachael Nortey (R) of A103A are going to tell you briefly about our experience at the ARX on Monday afternoon.

B: At about 11:30am, we had a lecture by Dr. Korsah on Robotics and RobotC for Programming.

R: I was very excited learning about robots. I was a bit confused though as it was my very first time listening to a lecture on robotics.

DSCN3357

B: After the lecture, we were placed in groups with different people; people we have never met before Ashesi and ARX. I ended up in group 20 with two guys.

H: I was anxiously sitting with my friends. I was not quite ready to leave my comfort zone (my friends) to my growth zone. I was placed in group 2 with two other guys as well.

R: I was put in group 19; made up of just two members. We were both girls.

DSCN3440

B: So we were given the task to build and program a robot to move as fast as possible a distance of one meter and turn ninety degrees left. The competition was dubbed ‘1 meter dash’. In my group, we had divided the tasks; I programmed while the others built.

DSCN3409

R: in my group, we kept alternating tasks.

H: My group jelled quite quickly and we all brought on board our strengths. The competition started at 4pm instead of 3pm as most groups were still not done.

B: I really do not remember my group’s position but we were not first but we definitely not last.

DSCN3414

R: Oh, we were not last but our robot was not fast enough so were not first either.

H: Our robot was very fast but not very accurate all the same we were first. Afterwards we had time to socialize.

DSCN3423

HRB: We had loads of fun working with new people and actually programming.

Henrietta, Belinda and Racheal

Wow! What An Experience!

Well, I actually had mixed feelings when I was on my way to have a taste of this ‘experience’, because I had no idea whatsoever about what was going to happen. My mindset and the mental picture I had, however, changed completely after my one hour journey from Accra to this serene, beautiful and artistically designed campus called Ashesi University.  We were warmly received by our mentors and we toured the campus, we were later given a welcome address in the evening by the lovely Dr. Ayorkor Korsah; one of the faculty in charge of ARX.

DSCN3109

Dr. Korsah giving the participants a welcome address.

DSCN3122

Participants during the orientation session.

The next day, Monday morning, I felt a bit anxious as I wondered how the day would go activity-wise. Funny enough; it turned out to be a hell of an experience when we were introduced to the world of robotics research. This robotics research session really gave me a clear picture as to what we were to expect. After the first lecture, we were guided on how to build a Lego Mindstorm® robot in groups, at the end of it all it was pretty fun. We also got to learn a new programming language called RobotC, this is different from the NXTG 2.0 I had rigorously prepared for. RobotC was more text-based so it made me feel like a computer genius; the feeling was just overwhelming!!!

DSCN3280DSCN3362DSCN3391DSCN3408

I would urge anyone interested in robots and computer science to be a part of ARX and the Ashesi family; there is always a chance for new beginnings.

Kofi, Theophilus and Emmanuel

Ashesi Here We Come!

Oh my God what a new world altogether, how I wish all my life was in Ashesi. Actually, we had heard a lot about Ashesi and really wanted to have a feel of what this university. We heard about Ashesi Robotics Experience (ARX) while we were back in school, so we applied and luckily enough we were selected to participate in this year’s ARX.

I’m Anambi, a former student of Navorongo Senior High School. I came with a flight from Tamale to Accra; this was my first time aboard a plane and my first time in the capital city of Ghana, Accra. My trip from Accra to Ashesi was also interesting because I got to know different kinds of people. I was really surprised to know how people in the south go about some of their things, like their language. My journey to Ashesi was wonderful.

I’m Johnson from Opoku Ware School. I’m based in Sunyani but came with the Kumasi bus.

I’m also Kwabena from Prempeh College, based in Kumasi.

JOURNEY TO ASHESI & ARRIVAL

DSCN2954

Mentors assisting participants in registration

We had heard a lot about Ashesi Robotics Experience and wanted to have a feel of it, in fact, a day before our departure we could hardly sleep due to anxiety. The day finally came and wee left Kumasi around 5:30 pm. Our Journey was interesting since we met different people we didn’t know and this made us socialize with them, we learnt a lot about them and we shared ideas about science and technology. The most interesting part of the journey was that we had to pick up several students at specific points such as Nkawkaw and Koforidua. This gave those who had never had the opportunity to go to those place a chance to see them. The road to Ashesi too was very nice; you get to climb and descend hills. Finally we got to Ashesi University. We were given a warm welcome by beautiful ladies and handsome gentlemen who were to be our mentors.

DSCN2962

Mentors excited about arrival of participants

Finally we were at Ashesi, completely lost in a new world, wonderful structures and spectacular architecture; if not for the ARX 2013. The reception we got was very warm and welcoming and in all, we had great fun on our trip. We had a fabulous trip and got to meet amazing people, all thanks to ARX 2013 organizers.

Anambi, Johnson and Kyeremah