John H. Hopps Defense Research scholars tour ALC
April 17, 2012
Members of the John H. Hopps Defense Research Scholars Program at Morehouse University recently toured the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) at the Adelphi Laboratory Center.
Approximately 40 students participated in the tour and were introduced to ARL research and technology including autonomous robotics research, wireless emulation technologies, the specialty electronic materials facility, and PiezoMEMS actuators for insect-inspired microflight.
Gabe Smith, of the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, introduced the tour members to the Army's capability in PiezoMEMS technology ranging from RF MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) switches to micro-robotic wing and sensors for control.
According to Smith, the tour groups were highly engaging and very responsive to the technologies that they were introduced to.
"When I showed them a live demonstration of the MEMS microflight wings, the tour members' comments and reactions were both positive and insightful," said Smith.
He was very impressed with the level of detail of the tough questions and understanding from these young students.
Smith believes that programs such as the John H. Hopps Defense Research Scholars Program are critical as they play a key role in keeping students interested in science and technology.
"I always make it a point when discussing these technologies to high school and college students that they will have a chance to field the new science and technologies that we are showing them now, and like to highlight the importance to making these devices of high level math and science," noted Smith.
Smith said that the MEMS, especially the fruit-fly scale micro-robots, make a strong impression with young people and help to generate and maintain that spark of interest for science and engineering.