Please find descriptions of our main outreach efforts below. We are always interested in new ways of getting involved, especially on topics related to disability or veterans affairs, involving robotics, biomechatronics and biomechanics, or with members of underprivileged or underrepresented groups. Please contact Steve Collins if you think we can be of help.
During the school year, we meet weekly with a team of four to five Seniors through the Executive Experience program at Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy, or 'SciTech', a Pittsburgh Public Shool. These ambitious high school students design, build and control a robotic prosthesis or exoskeleton for class credit. They apply their knowledge of Physics and Computer Science, learn fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering, and get exposure to University research and studies along the way. They meet with Prof. Collins and one graduate student once a week, and separately meet with a team of three to five Carnegie Mellon Seniors once a week. In these meetings, SciTech students get advice on their project and learn about technical topics of interest, while Carnegie Mellon students learn about teaching and mentorship.
2014-2015 School Year
This year students are designing a robotic prosthetic hand with a self-varying transmission. The transmission will provide either high speed or high torque, as required for the task, with a single, lightweight motor.
SciTech Team: Shane Lutton, Keith Irvin, Tonya Hammond, and Jacob Spence
SciTech Teacher: Henry Lancet
Lab Members: Steve Collins, Kirby Witte, and Stephanie Chen
CMU Seniors: Natalie Arguello, Nastassia Barber, Calvin Chan, and Korey Haug
2013-2014 School Year
In the 2013-2014 school year, we designed and prototyped an under-actuated robotic prosthetic hand, which had many degrees of freedom driven by a single motor. Each member of the SciTech team is now enrolled in college, pursuing a degree in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) discipline.
SciTech Team: Josh Tarun, Sabreen Megherhi, George Mitchell, Nicholas Vansickel, and Deion Grant
SciTech Teacher: Michael Miller
Lab Members: Steve Collins
CMU Seniors: Rand Burzese, Melissa Mann, and Jacqueline Shaw
We regularly participate in the Amp Up! support group for people with amputation. This monthly meeting involves doctors, prosthetist and patients, and provides attendees with information on new prosthesis technologies, practical tips for getting around as an amputee in Pittsburgh, and an opportunity to meet with members of the local community. In 2011, we worked with local Orthotics and Prosthetics companies and doctors to help get the group started, and have since helped with web site design and other services.
We are also involved in many smaller outreach events as part of the Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh communities. Each fall, we participate in the Society of Women Engineers' High School Days event, providing laboratory tours to groups of about twenty female students from Pittsburgh-area high schools. This year, our efforts are led by Katie Poggensee. A few times a year, we host visits from local children's organizations, such as the Carriage House (pictured at left), Cub Scout dens and Boy Scout troops. Prof. Collins also gives guest lectures at local schools a few times a year, such as at the Ellis School for women, and acts as a judge in events like the FIRST Robotics Competition, and the design competition portion of CMU Sweepstakes.