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"All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten" - at Wachs lab

Photo of Solid Start students in ISAT Lab
Solid Start students visit ISAT Lab
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Photo of Maru Cabrera, robot and students
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Robert Fulghum's book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, may be right, as a group of local Pre-K and preschool students discovered recently. Their visit to the Intelligent Systems and Assistive Technologies Lab (ISAT) will hopefully start them on a lifelong journey of learning and discovery.

On July 26, a group of 10 Battleground, IN, "Solid Start" students visited Associate Professor Juan Wachs' lab to see demonstrations of robots working alongside people. Their teacher, Vicky McKinley, brings a group every year to visit the lab.

PhD Student Maru Cabrera explained: "The kids saw demos of all the robots in our lab [and] learned how robots can help humans with some specific tasks – for example, robotic-assisted surgery, assembly tasks, human-robot interaction, virtual and augmented reality."

Wachs and Cabrera, with PhD students Tian Zhou, Glebys Gonzalez, and Edgar Rojas Munoz, master's students Teerachart Soratana and Naveen Madapana, and Visiting Scholar Natalia Sanchez welcomed and worked with the students.

Cabrera thinks the visit was worthwhile for the young students. "By visiting a robotics lab [at] a very young age, kids can be introduced to the field of engineering and pique their interest. It can be a positive experience for them."

And that confirms one of the maxims in Fulghum's book, "Live a balanced life – learn some and think someevery day some."

Writer: DeEtte Starr,