Science and Engineering Expo - run by Robogals Melbourne in conjunction with National Science Week

On Tuesday the 17th of August, Robogals Melbourne held an Engineering and Science Expo, in conjunction with National Science Week and supported by the Melbourne University School of Engineering.

50 students attended our event from schools including Melbourne Girls Grammar and Camberwell Girls Grammar. Two families also joined who had heard about our Engineering and Science Expo in the Hearld Sun Article 'Robogals to the Rescue' (10th of August) or from our radio appearance on 774 with Lindy Burn.

Boy with his newspaper bridge

The day started off with the students building a bridge from newspaper and sticky tape, which is an activity modeled off a university engineering project. The bridge had to support a 600ml water bottle and span the greatest distance possible. The students constructed unique bridges in a limited amount of time ranging from a simple beam bridge to suspension bridges.

Next we had 7 groups being rotated around 7 displays which were: a MakerBot – a printer that prints a 3D plastic model from your computer, a Mid Size League Robocup robot – a soccer robot, a Visual Haptics Game – helps rehabilitate stroke patients for minor motor control and 4 LEGO robots – a robogator, humanoid, ball shooter and a colour sorter built by our volunteers and programmed by one of our lessons managers, Erik. The girls said "It was interesting to see the connection between technology and practical sciences."

Girls with Robogator

At 12pm it was time for lunch, after which there were industry speakers for the older audience. We had talks from 2 phd students (Denise Lam - Mechatronics Engineering and Sher Leen Ng - Chemical Engineering), a representative from SKM (Giselle Gonzales) and Marita Cheng (a Mechatronics student). One year 9 girl from Camberwell Girls Grammar said "I enjoyed all the speakers as they helped broaden my mind on Engineering and were very interesting to listen to."

We received great feedback; many found the day to be an eye opening experience. We would like to extend a huge thank you to Luke Weston from Hackerspace, Rob Skillington, Darwin Tat-Ming Lau and David Jahshan for providing and showing their displays, Denise Lam, Sher Leen Ng, Giselle Gonzales and Marita Cheng for enlightening us with their talks, National Science Week in particular Helen Gardiner, Carly Siebentritt and Tania Ewing, the Melbourne School of Engineering specifically Stephanie Mollica and Michelle Bellino, Alison Wray from the Melbourne School of Science, Jamie Evans and Jackie Brissonnette for their continued support and all 20 of the volunteers who helped make the day run smoothly. Without all of your support the day would not have been such a success. Thank you!


The World's Largest Robot Dance

The World's Largest Robot Dance in progress
Our robot dance advisors Rick Tankard and Arna Singleton get interviewed by a documentary crew

On 29 September 2009, Robogals broke the Guinness World Record for the 'largest robot dance' with 351 dancers. The previous record of 276 dancers was set by students at the University of Kent in the UK. The attempt was enjoyed by all present, and attracted significant media coverage that raised awareness of Robogals and our cause.

A few media coverage highlights:

  • The 7pm Project on Channel 10 had a reporter present at the event; the clip was shown in the evening just after the dance. Our first appearance on primetime national TV!
  • ABC Local Radio crossed live to the dance scene just before and after the dance attempt.
  • Articles in the Herald Sun both before and after the attempt (24 & 30 Sep) including a video on their website
  • Interviews on ABC Local Radio, Nova 100, 3AW and SYN FM in the week leading up to the dance.
  • We were The Age's Odd Spot the following morning.
  • Step-by-step "how to do the robot dance" in mX newspaper the day before.
  • Britain's Metro newspaper carried an article about the attempt.
  • Singapore's Straits Times included a photo of our robot dance in their "News in Pictures on Tuesday" on that day, alongside other such historic events as the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
  • A group of Swinburne film students made a short (10 minutes) documentary which followed the planning and execution of the attempt, which is the video below.

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