Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So You Think Your Robot Can DANCE?

On April 16th, 2011 I attended the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Robotics Challenge. The challenge is open to middle school and high school students.  This year’s competition consisted of 5 categories--Petite Slalom, Mystery Course, Search and Destroy, Innovative Use, and Robot Dance. Each category was very different yet equally challenging.  

I competed in the Search and Destroy and the Robot Dance challenges. My robot detected four tumors in 47 seconds, which resulted in second place. For Robot Dance, I choreographed two robots to dance to the Cha Cha Slide.  The robots danced well and the audience was very impressed.  I was awarded with grand prize in this category. Visit the website for the complete list of 2011 winners.
The day was challenging, rewarding, and fun at the same time. The JHU Robotics Challenge expanded my experience in the field of robotics. I learned a new programming language and improved my engineering strategies. I also found ways to apply mathematics to solve problems I encountered. At the end of the day, I was able to take a tour of the Johns Hopkins campus and the Engineering Research Center.  At the JHU mock operating room, I had the opportunity to control the DaVinci surgical robot. I learned that grad students are integrating webcams with the DaVinci surgical system. They are also trying to integrate Xbox 360’s Kinect with the DaVinci system.  This will expand the system’s gesture base to include the hands and arms. I also operated a robot that was used for spinal surgery. This system incorporated software for haptic sensation. I enjoyed this competition a lot and highly recommend it to those who want to expand their knowledge in the math and science discipline.

-- Text and Photos by Jackie M. (Class of 2016) ; Video via www.abc2news.com


  1. Ryan D (mcdonogh school)May 3, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    That is soo awesome. I didn't know that robots could actually dance. It seems so cool.

  2. Congratulations, Jackie, on your achievement.
    I am so proud of you.

  3. Alyssa (Montessori School)May 3, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    That sounds really cool. I wish I could have been there and saw all the robots. That really inspired me. I might even attend next year.

  4. Good job Jackie.. You worked real hard and I am proud of you.

  5. Grand prize for robot dancing! Congratulations! Can we expect to see your robots on Fox next season?

    Jack Hardcastle
    Director of Technology

  6. Yes, it was really cool. I had a lot of fun programming the robots. Thank you for your kind comment. ~Jackie

  7. I am glad this inspired you. I highly encourage you to go next year. It was a fun and exciting day. If you attend, you will probably get to use the Da Vinci like I did. ~Jackie

  8. @Jack HardcastleMay 3, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    I hope so! I think I will compete next year, but it will probably be in a different category. I might do Innovative Use. I already have some good ideas. Thank you for comment. ~Jackie

  9. That is so cool Jackie! Good Job! : )

  10. Hey Jackie!!
    Wow, I think you need a pool party to celebrate your achievement. Congratulations and GO GIRLPOWER!

    Tish Heyssel
    Peterson Burnett Technologies

  11. I work for a robotics company and am really impressed with what you have done. If you wish to contact me (sthomas@gdrs.com) in a few years about doing an internship that would be great. Great Job! Always need more women engineers.

  12. cool jacki great job!