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Summer Tech Camps In Full Swing

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Girls at the Michigan Council of Women in Technology's Camp Infinity building and programming their robots

Girls at the Michigan Council of Women in Technology’s Camp Infinity building and programming their robots

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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(SOUTHFIELD and DETROIT / WWJ) — Tech and science camps are in full swing across southeast Michigan, and WWJ Newsradio 950 visited two of them Friday.

At Lawrence Technological University, the Michigan Council of Women in Technology was running its seventh annual “Camp Infinity” for girls going into the fourth through eighth grades.

The aim of the camp is to keep girls interested in science, technology, mathematics and engineering over the middle school years, when statistics show many of them lose that interest.

About 40 girls learned to use animation software, built their own Web sites and programmed their own robots. And this year, the programming object was a dance competition.

Required behaviors for the competition included avoiding the edge of a platform, beginning a program when a touch sensor is pressed, ends dancing with user interaction and costume design.

Optional behaviors included using an additional motor and parallel sequence beam, doing a 360-degree spin, interacting with an ultrasonic sensor, choreographing moves with music and synchronizing moves with another robot.

Volunteer instructors at the event, including Lawrence Tech electrical and computer engineering professor Lisa Anneberg, praised the girls’ energy and creativity.

Felicia Hinojosa of Sterling Heights, who’s about to go into the seventh grade at Davis Middle School, said she was enjoying the event — though it’s a bit far from her intended future career of biomedical engineer. Sydni Brown of Southfield, headed for seventh grade at Dunckel Middle School, said the event has her thinking about a tech career too.

Across the room, Elizabeth Ho, 12, of Farmington Hills, Shreya Gumati, 13, of Canton Township and Neha Paragi, 11 of Troy, programmed their robots — one wearing a tuxedo, the other a gown — to do the hokey pokey.

Across the metro area, meanwhile, the Detroit Project Accessible Hollywood festival had young folks making movies with phone cameras at the Vanguard Community Development Corp. on East Grand Boulevard in Detroit.

Hollywood’s Christopher Coppola, nephew of the legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, created PAH to make moviemaking more accessible to the average person. At the community center, the activity wsa called “Circus Vision,” a visual treasure hunt where the kids use a smart phone and their imagination to shoot and edit a short movie based on a treasure hunt for circus visuals scattered around the building.

The students’ movies will be up for viewing soon at www.pahnationfest.com.

Madonna University in Livonia is the overall headquarters for PAH-Fest Detroit, which continues Saturday with movie screenings from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday with a closing ceremony at 7 p.m. The events take place in Madonna’s Room S100 and Kresge Hall respectively.

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