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City 6th Graders to Debut Underwater Robot Claws Designed for Johns Hopkins

Jan. 24, 2017
CONTACT: Jill Rosen
Office: 443-997-9906
Cell: 443-547-8805
jrosen@jhu.edu @JHUmediareps

WHEN: 10:55 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., Thursday Jan. 26.

WHERE: Barclay Elementary Middle School, 2900 Barclay St., Baltimore.

WHAT: Johns Hopkins mechanical engineering professor Louis Whitcomb, who specializes in underwater robotics, has challenged 6th graders to design a robotic “claw” able to grab and retrieve submerged objects. On Thursday, students will present and demo their designs before the professor and Johns Hopkins undergraduates who spent two weeks helping them create the claws from corrugated cardboard, straws, string, brass fasteners, tape, paper clips and rubber bands.

WHY: The 6th graders experience a realistic engineering task while getting to interact with young people on the path to becoming engineers. The undergraduates, who learn how to communicate complicated material to non-technical people, have elected to work on the challenge through a one-credit intersession course.

BACKGROUND: A partnership between Johns Hopkins and Baltimore City Public Schools, announced in 2015, allowed Barclay Elementary Middle School to become the city’s first designated pre-K-8th grade school dedicated to giving students a foundation in engineering and computer science. This is the fifth year the Whiting School of Engineering’s Center for Educational Outreach has offered the design challenge. Each year, the task changes. This is the first time students have been challenged to create something that functions underwater.

Members of the media who expect to cover this event should RSVP to Jill Rosen at 443-997-9906 or jrosen@jhu.edu.

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