Over the summer, Wayne Highlands Middle School student John Rodriquez was busy being inventive.
Inspired by a robotics project the Technological Education teacher Chris Piasecki taught, John decided to build a robot.
In school, he constructed simple robots to perform simple tasks, but John had a dream to build bigger and better machines.
After conducting research, John purchased a Lego Mindstorm EV3 set online.
He spent many hours creating various robots utilizing the Lego website.
John's robots included a forklift, a bulldozer, a snake, and one capable of walking on two legs. John said it was fun constructing all of these robots, but it wasn't enough.
He had to try something more challenging.
Being innovative, John discovered he could erect a robot that would solve the Rubik's cube.
Once he had the robot assembled, he then needed to obtain a program to tell the robot how to solve it. He discovered an algorithm which allowed the robot to do its job.
It had color sensors which scanned every cube, and a tray and an arm to spin and to maneuver it. When he had completed his project, John's robot could solve the cube in two minutes.
"I had a lot of fun learning how to manufacture and program the robots. Being able to program them to perform specific jobs was especially rewarding," John explains.
John’s passion for robotics and technology infiltrates all his school work, but especially in art.
With technology being an essential component of the 21st century, John’s art teacher Kat Beisel recognized John’s passion and developed a unit allowing him to demonstrate his skills.
Mrs. Beisel chose students in her class who were innovative and asked them to develop a line following car using Legos. John was assigned the role of being the leader.
Once the students assembled the robotic vehicle, they began working on constructing a replica of a city utilizing cardboard and foam. John then wrote a program forcing the car to drive through the city following a line.
In the future, John hopes to participate in the Robotics Club at the high school. "My love of engineering and experience working with robots could develop further through this club.
“Since I am extremely competitive, I think I will enjoy the Robotics Club.
“I am also a member of the Science Olympiad team and have competed at the state level."
In school, John is a member of the band and honor student.
Outside of school, John is active in Boy Scouts. In the future, he aspiration is to be an aerospace engineer.