Shaler Area sixth-grader builds robot to solve Rubik’s Cube

Ethan James, a sixth-grader at Shaler Area Elementary School, took the challenge of solving a Rubik’s Cube to the next level when he set out to create a robot to complete the task.

Ethan started the project last school year with a group of students in the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, however they ran into problems with the construction and programming that they were not able to solve before the summer. Ethan returned to school this school year with determination when he saw their unfinished project.

“I came back and saw it sitting there and it bothered me that it wasn’t working,” Ethan said.

Ethan worked for most of the first half of the school year to construct and program the robot using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit. The robot is programmed to scan all sides of the Rubik’s Cube, determine the solution through various patterns, then use a robotic arm and rotating base to turn the cube and solve the puzzle.

Ethan said completing the project taught him persistence.

“Every day I came in and said ‘this is impossible, it’s never going to work,’ and then it did,” he said.

After Ethan completed the robot, his father told him that he should now create a robot that writes, and Ethan accepted the challenge. He now is working to design and program a robot that will write out a Shakespearian manuscript.

“It’s fun,” Ethan said. “I love this whole thing, the programming and building things. I want to do this when I grow up.”

Shaler Area Elementary student builds robot that can solve Rubik's Cube
TribLIVE | Neighborhoods article Feb. 1, 2016
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1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard     Glenshaw, PA. 15116     P 412-492-1200     F 412-492-1236
1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard Glenshaw, PA. 15116 P 412-492-1200 F 412-492-1236
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