Diversity & Inclusion
Brooklyn / Education / Robotics / STEM

Lab for Robotics Education wraps up second summer of kids building bots

LaRE is a free program in Dumbo that teaches eight high school students how to program autonomous robots to navigate a maze.

The Lab for Robotics Education (LaRE) is a small program that reaches out to students in New York City schools with limited access to technology. It brings them in over the course of an eight-week program and teaches them about building and programming robots.

LaRE was started by employees of Amplify, as a side-project. While one of them has moved on from the company, the other two are still full-time there. Amplify also sponsors the program and lets it use its space in Dumbo over its summer program of eight Saturdays.

The program accepts eight students. There is no fee to participate.

We visited the group last Saturday. The students were finishing up their programming and deciding how to best orient the sensors they were going to use on their robots.

To cap off the summer, student teams will be brought to the Amplify office in Manhattan to demonstrate their creations — which are kind of like small autonomous tanks, as you can see in the photo below. The robots will be tasked with getting from one end of a simple maze to the other.

We spoke to one team of young makers, Yaroslav and Zohaib.

Zohaib said, that for him, putting the machine together is still the easier part. He said he wanted to understand the software side because everything he uses at home is driven by software and “it’s interesting how I can tell a machine to do what I want it to do.”

Yaroslav said, “I think the reason coding might be a little more challenging is it might be harder to remember a few days later, if someone quizzed you, how to code a robot to back up five centimeters after it’s registered a bump on a sensor.”

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Companies: Amplify
Series: Brooklyn

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