Janksters Host 10th Annual Robotics Bootcamp

Janksters Host 10th Annual Robotics Bootcamp

By Miriam Nebu '25 and Riya Fernando '25

Recently, the Janksters - Notre Dame’s robotics team - hosted their 10th annual robotics bootcamp. Bootcamp is an opportunity for prospective Janksters to get a glimpse into what robotics entails. Leaders and veteran students worked together over the summer to design, plan and produce a bootcamp to motivate students to learn about robotics. Janksters offered a series of workshops to teach new students basic robotics skills and team culture. The workshops, offered over the course of four days. were meticulously planned to introduce students to each of the four committees on the team; mechanical, electrical, programming and business. Basics of each committee gave campers a taste of what they do during build season.

During the first two days, campers attended four core workshops focused on highlighting the team’s four committees. Electrical and mechanical engineering skills were incorporated into the computer aided design (CAD) workshop. Additionally, veterans taught a power tool use workshop to show students how to handle various tools such as drills and saws. Programming and electrical were combined into the arduino workshop, in which students made a programmable circuit board to light up LEDs. The final core workshop taught Adobe Illustrator to students to convey how the team’s business committee creates its branded graphics and merchandise. Additionally, mini-workshops incorporated aspects of robotics that are not committee-specific, such as competition strategy and a robot driving activity. Veteran students also shared team history during the “Janky 101” workshop.

To tie together the skills learned in the first few days of camp, the Janksters challenged the campers to make their own Rube Goldberg machine. The Rube Goldberg project, an annual tradition in bootcamp, requires campers to build a machine that does a simple task in an overly complicated way over multiple steps. The aim of the challenge is to teach campers how to use simple machines, various mechanical skills and teamwork strategies. Campers worked in teams of 4-5 to design and build a machine that releases a balloon into the air over five different steps. At the end of the challenge, all of the campers had a few working mechanisms, and all of the groups were able to successfully complete the challenge.

Both campers and newly appointed robotics leaders have gained valuable skills and knowledge from bootcamp. Anchal ‘24 says that she has “learned so much throughout the process, bonded with my teammates, and also fostered a welcoming community for the next class of Janksters.” The Janksters are looking forward to a promising new robotics year ahead!