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Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2011

Ready, set, robots! IU summer workshop for teens celebrates fifth year

April 18, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- It's the birthday bash of the summer as the robots turn five at this year's Ready, Set, Robots! technology workshop for teens. Indiana middle and high school students with an interest in computer technology can learn to command robots and engage in some friendly team competition during this hands-on workshop sponsored by Indiana University's Pervasive Technology Institute with University Information Technology Services (UITS) Research Technologies and the IU GlobalNOC.

Robot Workshop

Ready, Set Robots! introduces teens to technology-related fields and concepts including computer programming, high performance computing, and networking as they work side by side with IU technology professionals and researchers. Using kits from the LEGO® Mindstorms® series, participants work in small teams to learn the basic computer programming skills needed to command a robot to complete a set of predetermined tasks. Workshops culminate in an exciting Robot Showdown, a lighthearted final competition in which each team's robot struts its stuff in hopes being named best in show.

"Because there are many possible ways to complete each task, the students must employ logic, creativity, and critical thinking to decide the best way for their robots to operate. These are the same types of skills they will use in future careers as technology professionals," said workshop director Kurt Seiffert, manager for research storage with IU's Research Technologies division. "We try to take the fear and mystery out of working with technology and help young people see that computing is both a fun and accessible career path."

For 2011 the Ready, Set, Robots! Traditional workshop has been extended to two full days. A new Advanced workshop has been added for those who have completed the Traditional workshop or already have experience programming LEGO® Mindstorms ® robots.

Ready, Set Robots! Traditional takes place Tuesday, June 14, and Wednesday, June 15, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Participants in the Traditional workshop must commit to attending both days. Ready, Set, Robots! Advanced will be held on Friday, June 17, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. The Traditional workshop is open to students entering grades 7 through 12 in the fall of 2011. The Advanced workshop is recommended for those entering grades 9 through 12.

Registration is free but limited to 20 participants in each workshop. Snacks and lunch are provided. For more information and to register, visit

About Pervasive Technology Institute

Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) at Indiana University is a world-class organization dedicated to the development and delivery of innovative information technology to advance research, education, industry, and society. Supported in part by a $15-million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., PTI is built upon a spirit of collaboration and brings together researchers and technologists from a range of disciplines and organizations, including the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IU Bloomington, the IU Maurer School of Law, and University Information Technology Services at Indiana University. For more information, see