UC Davis Mind and Machine Summer Camp Inspires New Generation with Connection Between Engineering, Neuroscience
For the second straight year, the Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine hosted the UC Davis Mind and Machine summer camp for area middle school students.
The three-day camp is organized by Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and faculty affiliate of the Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine Sanjay Joshi and designed to introduce students to the concepts of engineering and neuroscience.
Mind and Machine summer camp students complete different versions of the final robot maze in the Woodland Public Library's Square One makerspace. (Courtesy of Ada Kanapskytė)
"We do this by challenging the kids to program their own robots, as well as bringing the kids to UC Davis labs where they can see the connection between engineering and neuroscience in action," said Ada Kanapskyte, a Ph.D. candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group.
For this year's camp, Joshi and his students worked in the Woodland Public Library's Square One makerspace. Square One has equipment for laser cutting, screen printing, 3D printing, woodworking, vinyl cutting, sewing, electronics, digital media arts and more. As a result, campers will be able to return the makerspace to continue to foster their interest in engineering.
The camp was led by Cam Evans '23, a recent graduate from the Joshi Lab who Kanapskyte described as "a real mastermind when it comes to science education."
A team of College of Engineering undergraduates and a local computer science teacher also helped the camp come to fruition.
The camp was organized as part of a grant Joshi received from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, in 2020, and was funded by an additional supplement from the NSF. An interdisciplinary partnership between the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, the grant funded research to develop and test a robotic fifth limb to give humans extra capabilities in extreme environments.