Beacon Institute Sense-It Alum Recognized for Robotics Education

J.D. Cronin, a student of Chad Cianfrani at Oakwood Friends School, instructs Arlington Middle School students in robotics and sensors.

J.D. Cronin, a student of Chad Cianfrani at Oakwood Friends School, instructs Arlington Middle School students in robotics and sensors.

Chad Cianfrani, physics teacher at Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, was a star faculty participant in Beacon Institute’s Sense It training program and has remained a good friend since.

Hudson Valley Magazine recently featured Chad in a story about the robotics workshops he conducts for the region’s middle school and high school students. Note how he has incorporated sensors into his training program. From the article:

Chad Cianfrani. Via Oakwood Friends School

Chad Cianfrani. Via Oakwood Friends School

The classes are usually comprised of about 10 to 12 kids, mostly juniors and seniors. Cianfrani explains that there are many nuances in this fast-growing field. “In class, we talk about the difference between, say, a robotic arm on an auto assembly line that can do a repetitive task very quickly, and robotics that tie in the ability to use sensors, almost like intelligence or autonomous thought.

Then, the students might build a vehicle containing a motion sensor that knows when it’s getting close to a wall and turns, or a light sensor that senses when it’s going from a light to a dark surface. The kids get a sense that the devices have a bit of ‘personality’ to them.” Even the classroom features a robotic component. “We have sensors on the window shades; if it gets too bright, a little motor kicks on and the shade automatically goes down,” Cianfrani says.

Read the entire Hudson Valley Magazine article here.