Look who's back at Algoma University (7 photos)Saturday, October 20, 2012 by: Darren Taylor
ARTIE was back at Algoma University’s George Leach Centre today.
It marked the fifth year for ARTIE (Advanced Research and Technology Innovation Expo), an event presented by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC).
The day’s activities, consisting of morning and afternoon sessions, drew 649 children from 28 Sault and area classrooms, from both the Algoma District School Board and Huron Superior Catholic School Board systems.
The expo is a series of exhibits by several groups aimed at showing “the wow factor” of science and technology to children, consisting of displays and hands-on activities.
However, ARTIE is also a robot.
Well, sort of.
He was a person dressed as a metal robot that walked in to kick off each session and welcome the children.
Not a real robot, but he was clearly one of the main attractions at the event.
“ARTIE the robot is a hit every year,” said Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre Marketing and Communications Manager Diana Medaglia.
“He comes out here and the kids get extremely excited to see him. He’s the rock star of our event. We’ve had him here every year.”
As for attendance this year, Medaglia said “we’re at capacity. This year we even had to turn some schools away, but we’re hoping next year we can maybe accommodate more, maybe add some extra days instead of one day only, but being at capacity means we’re successful and we’re growing every year.”
The various groups on hand today included Northern Ontario Agri-Food Education and Marketing (NOAFEM) explaining the dairy process in an exhibit called From Hay, to Milk, to You Sault College Natural Environment and Outdoor Studies (the kids really loved looking at the stuffed owl!), Algoma University Water Studies, the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre explaining fire control and water bombing, and Clean North, who let the children get a basic hands on experience with composting.
“We have a unique set of exhibitors here, and they are presenting some really interesting ways in which they use science and technology in their everyday jobs, in their everyday lives, and what we’re hoping the students take away from that is that they should continue in the science and technology fields in their academic studies. We hope to inspire them in that way,” said Medaglia.
ARTIE the robot is a fun figure, but have kids been inspired to get into robotics?
“In the past we’ve actually had robotics exhibitors so I would definitely say ‘yes’ to that," she said. "In the past we’ve had the Knights of Alloy group come in and when the kids see what the robots can do, they do show an interest, because they see an end result from the work that goes into robotics. Last year the robots were playing soccer and basketball with an electronic arm. It was pretty incredible.”
"Hopefully we’ll be even bigger and better next year, so we can accommodate all the classes that want to be involved. It may include a bigger venue. We actually had some home school students this year, hopefully we can get them all next year.”
Friday’s ARTIE activities were for the elementary school level only.
The Innovation Centre used to have “ARTIE elementary” and “ARTIE high school” events spread over two days.
This time around, “ARTIE high school” will be a separate event, to be held in the new year.