We strive to create STEM opportunities for historically marginalized students in Pittsburgh and beyond through the development and execution of outreach activities that allow us to share our technical skills and inspire the next generation of engineers. School groups and others interested in setting up an event should contact us.

From Imagination to Reality: Introduction to Computer Aided Design

We are currently collaborating with both a local Pittsburgh organization, Gwen’s Girls, and a national organization, Black in Robotics, to provide STEM education to underrepresented minority groups, specifically Black women. Every term since Spring 2021, we have conducted a 4-week CAD education program to foster creative thinking and design skills that students can carry with them into the future. Overall, we have had about 40 students attend this program and plan to grow further in the near future.

MiniRHex Open Source Instructional Robot

The Robomechanics Lab developed and maintains the open source robot MiniRHex. MiniRHex is a hexapedal robot that is made of 3D printed material and lasercut acrylic. The total cost of a MiniRHex is under $250, and they are intended for use in events with K-12 students to allow them to experiment with both the mechanical design of robot legs as well as the logic driving the robot's gait. Recently, MiniRHex has been used in our partnership with Gwen’s Girls to offer a hands-on robotics experience to their students.

Black in Robotics Reading List

The Robomechanics Lab has also partnered with Black in Robotics to develop a reading list that highlights the accomplishments of Black robotics scholars. We hope that this reading list encourages academics to seek diverse researchers for citations and collaborations, and helps students identify role models and potential advisors in the field.

National Robotics Week

The lab participates in National Robotics Week every year, with robots and interactive demos open to the public. This year, the demo included the K10 Rover driving over obstacles, RHex performing autonomous person following, and Minitaur bounding and digging.

Engineering Exploration Experience

In the summer of 2019, the Robomechanics Lab hosted approximately 20 middle school and high school students. The students were broken into teams of 4-5 students and tasked with picking legs and designing gaits for the MiniRHex robot. After creating their gaits, the teams planned paths around a course featuring rough terrain such as rocks and ledges. More information about the event can be found here.

Girls Rock Science! at Carnegie Science Center

On September 23rd 2017, the Robomechanics Lab brought RHex and Minitaur to the Carnegie Science Center for an interactive demo as a part of the Girls Rock Science! weekend. Girls of all ages came by to learn about robotic locomotion and bioinspired robotics, and to get the chance to control a real robot! Fun was had all around.

Engineering @ CMU

On November 27th 2018, the Robomechanics Lab hosted around 20 high school students interested in pursuing engineering degrees. The students were broken into four teams and tasked with creating a gait for MiniRHex to race against the other teams.