A group of Central Missouri Girl Scouts built autonomous robots and earned badges for the efforts Saturday morning at LabSpace Robotics.
LabSpace is a maker space for children and their families in Capital Mall. It allows children to explore coding, robotics, game design, 3D printing and design, engineering and art, according to its website.
Annette Alberts, of LabSpace, said the girls who participated Saturday were Junior and Cadet Girl Scouts seeking their "Robotics 1" badge.
"They will learn about sensors," Alberts said. "We have some homemade sensors over here that show what a tilt sensor looks like."
She demonstrated that a steel ball in a plastic cup could be made to touch conductive tape applied to the inside of the cup. When this happened, depending on which strip the ball touched, a cat on a laptop screen would move up, down or across the screen.
The workshop also used a type of microprocessor to create homemade touch sensors. By holding one electric lead in a hand and touching aluminum foil stretched over a pad with the other hand, the girls could make drumming noises.
"We try to make those sensors real," Alberts said. "What does that (sensor) really mean? What do some of those sensors do?"
She gave the girls phones with an app loaded that measured sound or light output.
Then the girls experimented with what made the loudest noises. They also walked out into the mall to find the spaces in the halls with the brightest light.
All the sensors rely on electricity. The girls worked on experiments that demonstrated completing circuits.
Another project included creating an "astronaut safety lander," in which the girls had to create a lander (using a plastic cup) to safely land an astronaut (a marshmallow) dropped from a variety of distances.
Jamie Cawthon-Pyke, a troop leader for the Iberia troop, said her 10-year-old daughter, MacKenzie Pyke, was excited to join the group.
"She enjoys building. She enjoys robots," Cawthon-Pyke said. "They are fascinated with Transformers and all things electronic. She was really looking forward to this."
Cawthon-Pyke said MacKenzie was most excited because the class was to last several hours.
"She was excited that she was going to learn something," Cawthon-Pyke said.