Friday, June 3, 2016

Ph.D. alum helps make robotics and programming accessible

As a Ph.D. student at the Jacobs School of Engineering, Nick Morozovsky built many robots, including SkySweeper, a power line inspector, and Switchblade, a roving and balancing robot. And he worked on bringing robotics to everyone, especially young students.

Morozovsky worked with Solana Beach-based Rokenbok Education on a robotics kit that teaches children as young as 8 how to program Arduino microcontrollers. The ROKbuino Programmable Robotics Set is now available on Kickstarter for $99 off its retail pricing. Morozovsky designed the original prototypes on a low-cost 3D printer. Rokenbok is now seeking funding to mass-produce the kits by using injection molding, which is much faster but requires a significant upfront capital investment. The company hopes to bring the sets to homes across the country as well as under-served schools where children have limited access to STEM opportunities.

The kit allows students to connect motors and a variety of sensors to build and program a beetle bot, a scorpion hunter and a Ferris Wheel. It includes more than 400 building components. The Kickstarter campaign runs until June 30.

After earning his Ph.D. in 2014, Morozovsky co-founded start up Accel Robotics with fellow Jacobs School alum Marius Buibas. 
Morozovsky with SkySweeper, a robot designed to inspect power lines.

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