FROM THE SITE: Robotics is a great way to introduce all youth to the principles of mechanical engineering, computer science, artificial intelligence as well as creative problem solving, collaboration, and teamwork skills. But youth with visual disabilities have been at a disadvantage because most products are designed solely with sighted youth in mind. We want to use Empower Mats to build the same skills while allowing youth with a variety of disabilities to participate in mainstream robotics. Through a grant from a national foundation, and in collaboration with The Maryland School for The Blind, TechBrick Education, LET’S GO Boys & Girls, and other national institutions, we are developing and testing surface technologies that can be applied to standard robotics competition and training mats. These solutions will facilitate the participation of students who are blind or visually impaired who are largely excluded from these types of activities. If they do not have an opportunity to engage in STEM based programs, they will not be likely to pursue STEM careers.
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