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Robots and high school students present concert at Lawrence Tech

Release Date: August 2, 2013
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Southfield eighth-grader Will White (left) and Matthew Ryan, a Sterling Heights ninth-grader, both home schooled, were among a dozen students who performed in what was billed as the world’s first student/robot concert held at Lawrence Technological University in July.

A dozen high school students were joined by robots in performing a musical program on July 19 as the final project of the weeklong “Robotics and Music Camp.”

Eight campers from Metro Detroit and four campers from the Chicago area were joined by autonomous and interactive robots they programmed to play music. The students gave individual performances with their robots and concluded with an ensemble performance.

This camp was the brain child of Professor CJ Chung of LTU’s Department of Computer Science and Mathematics who is the founder of Robofest and RoboParade. He is always looking for new fun ways for young students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math, known as the STEM subjects.

“Why music and robots? People love music – arguably it is the universal language – and music is mathematical,” Chung said. “Music can be represented with numbers and mathematical functions, and can be integrated with robotics when we develop computer programs for robots to perform the music interactively.”

The goals of the camp and concert was to get students interested in STEM areas and to teach STEM subjects in-depth during the process of creating interactive musical robots.

The students are eligible to participate in the inaugural Global Robotics Arts Festival (GRAF) on Nov. 23 at Macomb Community College and the Robofest international competition to be held at LTU in spring 2014.

Associate Professor Chris Cartwright of the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at LTU helped run the robotics camp.