Creative minds at work during Lego Mindstorms workshop

An introduction into the world of robotics
An introduction into the world of robotics

Some 21 students and three lecturers had their minds blown away at an introductory Lego Mindstorms workshop organised in collaboration with the Penang Science Cluster (PSC) recently.

The students, who were pioneer members of the newly set up DISTED Makers Club under the supervision of lecturer Dr Low Khee Lam, had a whale of a time toying around with the Lego robotics kits. The session at PSC’s Maker Space at Krsytal Point was facilitated by Mr Edmond Koay, a PSC volunteer, who gave an informative introduction on robots and their supporting roles in our daily life.

Building a robot from scratch
Building a robot from scratch

He further progressed to explaining and demonstrating the intricate details of Lego Mindstorms, a customisable and programmable kit of Lego robots. These Lego bricks, embedded with different kinds of colour sensors, gyro sensors and distance sensors, allow users to programme the EV3 robot to make its own decision.

After being introduced to different kinds of motors that enabled the robots to move around, the students were then asked to put their knowledge to test. Following a step-by-step guide, the students worked in teams to build their own robots. It was far from boring as they were taught to programme their robots to perform a series of movements, one of which was to move around an oval-shaped track.

Students placing their robot to move around the oval-shaped track
Students placing their robot to move around the oval-shaped track

Club advisor Dr Low was grateful to the Penang Science Cluster for conducting the workshop as it gave the students a first-hand experience in exploring the world of action science. The DISTED Makers Club, he said, is open to students who have a strong interest in all things scientific and a flair for robotics.

Lecturer Mr Khor Ee Keat commended the PSC for setting up a well-equipped centre with a wide range of engineering tools and equipment. Mr Teng Wei Jian, another lecturer who accompanied the students explained, “it was easy to master the programming of the EV3 robots, and this activity should not be limited to only Science and Technology students.”

Students Tan Lit Wei and Victor Teh enjoyed themselves during the 4-hour hands-on session. “The assembling part of the Lego components was easy but the programming was very challenging. However, I gained a lot of programming knowledge from the workshop,” Lit Wei said.

Victor, a Diploma in Computer Science student added, “I can put my programming knowledge to good use with the Lego Mindstorms sessions. It was so much fun!!”

To become a member of the DISTED Makers Club, feel free to contact Dr Low at the Staff Room or drop him a message at kllow@disted.edu.my or kheelamlow@gmail.com