Get Tech-y at the Rhode Island Robot Block Party

The event encourages kids to get excited about math and science.

Robots may be fun and futuristic, but they also play an integral role in many industries. To help show how many different companies, schools and nonprofits use robots in their work, research and educational missions, Rhode Island Students of the Future and the Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative at Brown University put together the annual Rhode Island Robot Block Party. This year, the event takes place April 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pizzitola Sports Center at Brown University, and it involves a day of exploring how robots are used in real life. Nearly fifty exhibits and demonstrations, many of them hands-on and family-friendly, will include a parade of shoebox- and copy box-sized self-driving robots built by school-children that move along a route inside the gymnasium and Hasbro’s animatronic stuffed animals that expose mechanical parts, revealing how they move. “Folks will see what’s happening in robotics and related fields and meet the people working and learning in these areas,” says Mary Johnson, a member of the board of directors for Rhode Island Students of the Future. It also gives hope to those who are already employed in robotics, she says, because they get to witness a whole new generation that is interested in their careers. “It’s a way to encourage kids to stay involved in science, technology, engineering and math, and show them what careers and pathways are out there,” says Johnson.