Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School’s Family Technology Night drew a crowd of several hundred students, parents and siblings, who were entertained and enlightened by the presenters participating in the event.
“It was a wonderful event that bridged our local community and higher education members,” Principal Donna Moro said. “It was fulfilling to see so many families in attendance and the genuine excitement students expressed about future careers in STEM related fields. R2D2 was a huge attraction as were the students from the Huntington Robotics club.”
Presenters and their stations included:
Supt. Jim Polansky with R2D2
and students. (Sara Baliber photo.)
Microsoft facial recognition software: In a demonstration of newly developed Artificial Intelligence software, students were challenged to make different facial expressions into a camera and the computer decided the emotion associated with it. “Students were amazed to see how accurately the software could predict their emotions,” Ms. Moro said.
Stony Brook University Department of Biomedical Engineering: Students were excited to participate in virtual arm wrestling where probes were attached to the wrestler’s arm and when they flexed their muscles a strength meter recorded the winner. Students also participated in a pipette challenge using scientific tools in a race against the clock and their classmates.
Farmingdale State College: Students learned how quickly and easily microscopic organisms can be transmitted from one person to another. In this hands-on demonstration, students placed blue light dye on their hands, which represented microscopic bacteria and then tried to wash their hands to remove the bacteria. They were amazed to see how resilient those microscopic bacteria really are.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories: Student put on 3-D glasses to see the inner workings of DNA, RNA and protein molecules and learned how scientists use those visualizations to further their research.
R2D2 builder and local makers: These hobbyists and engineers by trade showed students first-hand how hard work and perseverance can pay off. “R2D2 wowed the crowd, but what many didn’t realize at first was that he was built by hand without a kit from one of the local makers,” Ms. Moro said. “Many of the parts came from other dismantled products. It was a two year project that resulted in a movie quality R2D2 that has been registered with Lucas Films.”
Northwell Health: Local first responders came with equipment ready to train the next generation of heroes. Students learned about the inner workings of an ambulance and its crew and how first responders use various pieces lifesaving technological equipment.
Huntington Robotics: Team members demonstrated their award winning robot as excited students lined up to learn about the club and get their hands on the controls of the robot.
RND Group: Students learned how water can be made from air.
If the amazed and excited looks on the faces of participants and the smiles flashed as the crowd made its way to waiting cars were any indication of how the evening went, then it can easily be judged a success.