Lassonde professor brings high school students’ robot to life
Two high school students from Northview Heights Secondary School had the opportunity to explore the world of robotics at Lassonde School of Engineering with Professor Michael Jenkin.
Amolik Singh (grade 11) and Zakary Hebert (grade 12) had worked together on a robotics contest, but they wanted to go further. When their co-op teacher arranged a placement with Professor Jenkin, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the York Centre for Field Robotics, they knew they could build something great.
Over the last few months, Amolik and Zakary have been working to create an interactive robot that can communicate with humans and understand commands. The robot, named Gluttony, is not unlike Apple’s Siri. It is able to perform Internet searches, play music, move around and even express facial animation.
The two students developed the design on their own and had some experience in robotics but needed guidance and advanced skills. Professor Jenkin helped them learn Python and solve some of the technical challenges they encountered, leading to the creation of Gluttony.
“It is always exciting to work with students who are interested and engaged in the project, and who are willing to put in the extra effort to make the project a real success,” said Professor Jenkin about this experience with Amolik and Zakary.
Both Zakary and Amolik want to pursue further study in Engineering and Computer Science once they finish high school. The young men are ambitious futurists, who welcome a robot-run world with great optimism.
“I really want to build a robot that can replicate human motion and can be used to help mankind, for example replacing humans in dangerous situations like soldiers on the front lines,” said Zakary. “I disagree with the idea of robots displacing humans. They’re only here to make our lives safer.”