Robots on the Range...
Myles Gardner lives on an 18,000 acre ranch and his buddies Justin and Jarret live a convenient 95 miles away. But all that open space doesn’t keep them away from the robotics action. With help from the Powder River County MSU
Myles Gardner lives on an 18,000 acre ranch and his buddies Justin and Jarret live a convenient 95 miles away. But all that open space doesn’t keep them away from the robotics action. With help from the Powder River County MSU Extension office, Myles, Justin, Jarret and other
4-H’ers developed a plan to boot up a robotics club. The boys wrote a grant proposal to buy five robotics kits and presented it to funders. With community support, they rounded up Lego MindStorm robot kits, batteries and a small herd of borrowed and donated computers that serves as mission control.
Jerry Strobel, a seed wheat farmer who is also experienced in engineering, was the perfect fit as a leader. Cascade County’s robotics program gladly shared project materials, and soon little wheeled critters started crawling in Broadus. With computer software that comes with the kits, Strobel helped the kids learn to program basic commands, such as causing the robot to turn by commanding just one wheel to rotate. Programming a robot isn’t as easy as communicating with a person, said Justin, since robots can only do exactly what you tell them to do.
As the robot programmers gain skills, Strobel adds new challenges. Using light and touch sensors, the kids can make the robots move along a line of black tape, respond to lights, pick up pop cans and skeedaddle on back home. It looks easy, but behind the antics are pages of programming and problem solving. “It’s not fun to get stumped,” said Myles, “but it is fun to know that you’ve built it from scratch and to see that you have figured out how to actually do it.” Myles said that thinking through steps to make the robots perform tasks helps him understand bigger systems, too. He hopes to major in agribusiness and return home to put his technical talent to good use on complex ranching machinery. After demonstrating robotics at the county fair and sharing their knowledge with younger boys and girls, the 4-H robotics gang has built more than just a fistful of bots.
County Horse and Livestock Events
Many counties hold horse and livestock judging events that are open to the state or region.
Check the MT 4-H calendar for event-specific contact information and details, or contact Todd Kestner at: email@example.com