All of the engineering courses were combined this year to give campers a multidisciplinary experience. On the first full day, we started with Mechanical Engineering classes. Our very first project was to identify the various parts of a camera that had been created by mechanical engineers. There were dozens of them! Only the circuit board and its code had not been made by MEs. We then moved on to make "Water-Zookas", a giant water cannon to be used in the water fight against Computer Science. After lunch, we formed into groups and tried to build the sturdiest tower. My team won with a pyramidal design that could withstand a more powerful earthquake than any of the other structures by .2 Hertz. As the prize, we were allowed to choose our next project first: one of da Vinci's many designs! I chose the catapult and when building it, I added extra tension to give the projectile more distance.
The next day we began the Electrical Engineering course. We were all given 5 circuit kits to complete at our own pace. These included an Infrared LED motion detector, an LED oscillator, a light-sensing robotic insect, voice-activated LEDs, and a voice changer. They were supposed to last us 3 days. I completed mine in 5 hours, so Professor Byers, one of the amazing teachers at the electrical engineering camp, gave me a special project to complete: use a touchscreen shield with an Arduino Uno and put a clock or a chalkboard on it. I spent the next two days working with it and learning how to load new libraries from folders other than in the Arduino's system files. I also learned how to find the most important pieces of code without any comments to guide me, and how to research solutions to coding problems. On Thursday, the second to last day of camp, we finally got it working! We then attempted to build the game of snake on an 8x8 LED Dot Matrix display, but because of the strange pinout on the display and the time constraints, we were unable to complete the project.
The opportunities I had to work one-on-one with Professor Byers and Professor Rumsey were the highlights of the camp. They are both amazing teachers and I am looking forward to working with them again next year!
On the final day of camp, Professor Byers had me bring in my R2-D2 robot as a demonstration of what can be done with engineering and computer science. The students loved it! None had ever laid eyes on a functional R2 before, and all of them had tons of excellent questions about what went into building it, how long it took, what boards I designed, and many more. It was the perfect way to end a perfect week!