The College Student Challenge is a student competition that takes place during National Engineering Month every March. Teams of up to 5 students work together with their local OACETT chapter and volunteers to host one or more public outreach events in their local community. We’ve asked all the College Challenge entrants to submit a report to us. Here’s how students at Seneca College celebrated National Engineering Month! For more College Challenge 2018 reports, click here!

NEM 2018 at George Brown College: Hack Your Life! – Intro to Robotics Workshop

By: George Brown Hack Your Life! College Challenge Team

On March 24, 2018, to celebrate National Engineering Month 2018, we organized an Robotic workshop and hands on event called Hack Your Life! – Intro to Robotics Workshop – 2018 Edition. The event took place at Symbility Intersect HQ, located in downtown Toronto.

In the morning, all the attendees arrived slightly early. They were very excited about the workshop the room was filled quickly. We had people from all ages, cultures and backgrounds, youth from grade 8, university students, working professionals and seniors. We collaborated with NPower and thus invited their alumni to participate the workshop. Solomon Hsu, a Seneca College alumni and web developer for the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills, helped participants sign in and in picking up their tool kits.

Mark Reale, co-founder Symbility Intersect and organizer of Google Developer Group Toronto welcomed everyone at 9:30 am. We introduced the space and talked about National Engineering Month and the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT).

Macy Kuang, student at George Brown College, Google Developer Expert and Intel innovator started the Robotic workshop focused on Arduino. We recapped the basic circuit knowledge by building an LED circuit with a resistor, a battery, a piece of breadboard and wires. This followed with a tutorial on connecting Arduino to the breadboard and uploading code to the controller with USB. Then attendees learned about motors, how they work, how we were using them and how to control a servo motor with an Arduino.

At noon, we had catered lunch. Everyone got into their groups and began to think about an robotic project idea. Sensors and materials were distributed to the groups and a working station was set up. Denys Karpov, a Senior Engineer from General Motors, volunteered to help everyone with coding. Philip Curatola, a recent graduate of George Brown College and Senior Test Technician at Exova was assisting participants with building their robot parts.


At 4:30 pm, every team demoed their finished and unfinished robotic projects. Some of the end products included

  • a cardboard robotic arm to encourage people to donate to charity
  • a smart lamp can be controlled by a joystick
  • a self loading easter egg machine
  • a smart home lock
  • a robot can change it’s noise color based on sound
  • a heart rate wearable project.

As the day wound down we celebrated the success of the event and encouraged everyone to finish and polish their robots with closing remarks.

Special thanks to:

  • Toronto Google Developer Group for helping us spread the words to their group members
  • Intel which sponsored the delicious lunch and some of the hardware
  • Symbility Intersect for letting us use their prime downtown office
  • NPower shared the event with their students and alumni
  • National Engineering Month Ontario for inspiring us to organize a creative event like this and helping us along the way

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