USC Viterbi Announces Campus Activities for National Robotics Week

USC Viterbi Staff | March 31, 2017

School marks robotics week with events across campus during April; simultaneously highlights National Autism Month with a feature film on socially assistive robotics

Scene from “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth”/USC Viterbi

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering will celebrate National Robotics Week (April 8 – April 16, 2017) and extend the conversation on robotics throughout the month of April. The initiative is part of the school’s ongoing commitment to engage K-12 students, teachers and families in robotics and computer science curricula and to showcase to the public advances in robotics research.

April 2: The school kicks off the month with the online premiere of a fictional short film, “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth”) (also created in honor of National Autism Awareness Month). The film imagines the near future in which a socially assistive robot helps a child who has been diagnosed with autism break out of an imaginary world and improve relationships with his peers. The piece is based on the work of Viterbi Prof. Maja Matarić, who is a pioneer in the field of socially assistive robotics. The trailer for the film can viewed here .

April 7: Hosted by the USC Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center (RASC), Viterbi Adopt-a-School Adopt-a-Teacher (VAST) program, and the Department of Computer Science at USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the Robotics Open House at USC Viterbi will bring to campus 2,000 members of the community including school groups, families, and individuals. On display will be over 50 robots in interactive demonstrations to show how the next generation of robots will aid society in health, education, environmental protection, communication and homeland security. Displays include swarms of drones that communicate with one another autonomously, underwater robots that help protect the oceans, and demonstrations on how robots learn to walk and how brain circuitry plays a role in robot programming. There will also be a screening of the short film, “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.”

April 14: The community organization, Living Advantage, Inc., a grant recipient of USC Good Neighbors, will host its annual Intro to Robo event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the USC Galen Center. The event is a free day-long festival of demonstrations and hands-on activities for the community. “Intro to Robo” engages and brings awareness to at-risk and foster youth about opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Arts and Mathematics, S.T.E.A.M., encouraging them to become leaders in S.T.E.A.M careers.

April 29: The USC Viterbi’s Robotics Invitational invites middle and high school groups to build and compete with their robots in this day-long event. Competitions are based on the “wicked problems” and the Grand Challenges for Engineering facing our times, such as clean water, security, sustainability and climate change, advanced health informatics, as well as restoring and improving urban infrastructure. The theme for this year’s competition is automated rapid transit systems.

April 29: Spring Family Summit of the Robotics and Coding Academy, an afterschool program in three elementary schools in the USC neighborhood that teaches 4th and 5th grades to code, will hold its annual competition and certificate ceremony for the students and their families. The program is supported by USC’s Good Neighbors Campaign and USC Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher (VAST).

All events are free and open to the public; registration is required for each event.

 About Robotics and Computer Science at USC Viterbi School of Engineering:

USC Viterbi School of Engineering is an academic leader in the fast growing field of robotics and has one of the most diverse inventories of robots at an academic institution in the United States. RASC, a center that is host of the Robotics Open House, is an interdisciplinary organized research unit (ORU) within the USC Viterbi School of Engineering that focuses on the science and technology of robotic systems. Projects span the major areas of robotics, including service, socially assistive, distributed, networked, marine, aerial, humanoid, nano, reconfigurable, and space, and impact a broad spectrum of applications, including assistance, training and rehabilitation, education, environmental monitoring and cleanup, emergency response, homeland security, and entertainment.

The Department of Computer Science at USC Viterbi has more than 85 faculty members, 40 of whom are affiliated with the USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI)–a major player in the creation of the Internet- and with the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). Its faculty includes pioneers in modern cryptography, Internet technologies, software engineering, database, computational neuroscience, robotics, natural language processing, computational biology and network sciences and the departments boasts one of the nation’s first programs in game development, and has had a role in the invention of DNA computing, and historic interdisciplinary studies relating brains, machines and mathematics.

In addition, to the study of robotics within Department of Computer Science, the school launched a dedicated Center for Advanced Manufacturing in February 2017.

About Viterbi Adopt-a-School Adopt-a-Teacher (VAST) The USC Viterbi School of Engineering brings innovative STEM projects and programs to K-12 schools and teachers in Los Angeles through VAST — Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher. VAST also mentors PreK-12 teachers and students on campus through first-hand experience with Viterbi faculty research. The program’s goal is to inspire the younger generation and their teachers through the creativity and possibilities of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

About the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Engineering Studies began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, in 2004, the Viterbi School of Engineering received a naming gift from alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm, now the key to cellphone technology and numerous data applications. The school’s guiding principles is Engineering +, a coined termed by current dean Yannis C. Yortsos, to use the power of engineering to address the world’s greatest challenges. USC Viterbi is ranked among the top engineering programs in the world and enrolls more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students taught by 185 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with 73 endowed chairs and professorships.


Published on March 31st, 2017

Last updated on February 11th, 2021

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