Twenty-five students (grades 9 to 12) from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) got together at Ryerson University on Monday for the official launch of TECHTRONIX, Canada’s first Black youth robitics team, organized by the African Canadian Christian Network (ACCN).
TECHTRONIX will enter the 2018 Build challenge, the first international robotics competition organized by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Teams from various countries taking part in the competition are given six weeks to plan, design, and build their robots which will perform a series of tasks this spring.
Students from the GTA with a keen interest in science and engineering, accepted an invitation by the ACCN to join TECHTRONIX, organizers said.
Ryerson University Technical Officer Joseph Amankrah and members of Ryerson Rams Robotics and Formula SAE teams are training the rookie team in robot-building.
“It’s a joy to see these young minds open up to learning new things,” says Amankrah.
“It’s a privilege to work with them.”
Frank Oshodi, 15, of Holy Trinity school in Richmond Hill, one of the students on the team, said he was excited to work on the robot project.
” I have always been interested in science and I like building things,” he added.
So far, the construction of the robot is” almost finished” and it was on demonstration at the official launch of TECHTRONIX.
Persons at the launch saw the extended arm of the robot pick up objects, move them from one part of the room to another and deposit them.
The ACCN has partnered with FIRST® Robotics Canada (FRC) and Microsoft to launch the Black youth robotics team.
FIRST® Robotics Canada President Mark Breadner describes the TECHTRONIX initiative as “inspiring and exciting.”
“We are amazed at how this team has come together and how far they have reached through hard work and commitment,” he says.
ACCN Executive Director Cheryl Lewis said she is looking forward to building the confidence of participants, as well as forming new relationships with partners.
“We created TECHTRONIX to nurture Black youth’s pursuit of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers and to demonstrate to them that they have what it takes to be at the STEM table,” Lewis said.