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South Jersey Robotics students impacting our community

South Jersey Robotics students impacting our community

South Jersey Robotics (SJR) students are learning more than just building robots.  They are also learning to put their skills to work to help solve real-world problems.  

Two recent examples are the high school students’ development of an adaptive hand to allow a youngster to jump rope.  Meanwhile, SJR’s middle school students developed a way to streamline and automate the data collection process around horse shoe crab migration.


Helping a boy’s dream come true

Isaiah, entering first grade this fall at The Tatnall School in Wilmington, wanted to jump rope just like everyone else.  However, a congenital amputation was preventing him from using a conventional jump rope.  

Tatnall preschool teacher Linda Champagne shared Isaiah’s challenge and wish with The LuNaTeCs, SJR’s Team 316, based at Salem Community College in Carneys Point.  

She requested an adaptive device that would allow Isaiah to jump rope with his classmates.  

High school team members Jared Crane, Devon Hedges and David Capaldo accepted the challenge.  They designed, engineered and built the adaptive device that enables Isaiah to jump rope with one hand.  The device is adjustable as he grows.    

When The LuNaTeCs delivered the device this spring, they watched as Isaiah leapt into the air with the jump rope flying around him, making his dreams come true.  

“We jumped at the chance to engineer something to help others,” said Crane, a sophomore at Gloucester Catholic High School.

“Someone told me we gave the boy confidence by making him this device,” said Hedges, a senior at Ridley High School. “Because of that, I hope he will accomplish anything people think he can't do.”

An award-winning robotics team founded in 1999, Team 316 is sponsored by Salem Community College, Boeing, DuPont and Picatinny Arsenal.


Tagging horseshow crabs

The Robotecs, a middle school FLL (FIRST Lego League) team based in Bridgeton, could not have asked for a more perfect evening to tag horseshoe crabs earlier this summer.  

Several Robotec members and their families met at Dyer Cove in Newport to help tag horseshoe crabs with the American Littoral Society. The Robotecs selected the horseshoe crab as the focus of their research project for the FLL Animal Allies season.

Team members developed an idea that would help streamline and automate the data collection process for when a horseshoe crab is spotted on the beach.

By embedding an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag onto the existing horseshoe crab tag, an NFC (near-field communication) chip -- found in most smartphones -- can read the RFID and electronically transmit the horseshoe crab statistics to the data collection agency including location based on the cell phone GPS coordinates. 

“This experience was the culmination of all their hard work this year and builds on the partnership that has been formed between South Jersey Robotics and the American Littoral Society,” said Nicole Wettstein, the team’s coach.  “We are so proud of them all and thank the ALS for all of their support this season!”


About South Jersey Robotics

South Jersey Robotics (SJR) Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps South Jersey students pursue careers in science, technology, math and engineering while building 21st century-skills through robust robotics programs for ages 6 to 18.  More about joining a team or donating to SJR can be found at www.sjrobotics.com.


Caption: Devon Hedges of the LuNaTeCs robotics team works with Isaiah, a student at The Tatnall School in Wilmington.  Devon, along with team members Jared Crane and David Capaldo, designed, engineered and built an adaptive device that enables Isaiah to jump rope with one hand. The LuNaTeCs, based at Salem Community College, are part of South Jersey Robotics.