MIT grad students conclude robotics program at YDO


This fall, YDO has been home to a new (and very special) robotics and coding program, bringing four PhD students from MIT to Lawrence every Saturday to work with some of our most talented STEM students.

The Interactive Robotics Group, led by Dr. Julie Shah, is a research lab at MIT developing innovative methods for enabling human-robot collaboration. (You can gain some insight into their work by watching Dr. Shah’s TED Talk for TEDxCambridge 2015.)

Last spring, Dr. Shah and members of her team visited YDO to meet some of our students and learn about the programs offered in our STEM Design Lab. They were impressed and inspired to get involved. So, over the summer, they planned a hands-on curriculum to teach an advanced Arduino robotics program for our kids. 

YDO leveraged this opportunity to further partner with the newly established Abbott Lawrence Academy (ALA) at Lawrence High. Several of the longtime YDO Kids whom we would recruit for this MIT program were now 9th graders at ALA, and we worked closely with the school to identify new high achieving students who would commit their Saturdays to a coding/robotics program.

This collaboration launched in September with a tour of multiple MIT robotics labs, where our kids saw demonstrations of amazing research projects including a running quadruped robot (The Cheetah), mobile manipulators that communicate with one another, and a $3M robot named “Big Atlas”.

Huge thanks to Dr. Shah, Joe, Ramya, Alex, & Vaibhav!