Campers build mini-sumo robots. In a two-robot competition, like Japanese sumo wrestlers, each robot attempts to push the other out of an arena.
Students learn the essentials of autonomous vehicle robotics, the same technology that is currently in heavy use for military vehicles, such as the John Deere Gator. Like a car, the robot must 'stay on the road/in the arena', and it must be aware of other vehicles moving nearby. The central element of the technology is the sophisticated but quite small on-board computer, also called a microcontroller.
In addition to building robots, campers will have the opportunity go on field trips. Last year, students visited Iowa Laser Technology, the Cedar Falls High School First Robotics worksite, and research labs in the Physics Department.
At the conclusion of the camp week, students present their work to family and friends about their activity during the week as well as a short mini-sumo competition, providing an exciting final activity.