Tag Archive

STEM

Toyota Robotics Supports LightHouse Innovation Lab

Photo (left to right): Ryan Klem, Jennifer Sachs, Bryan Bashin, Josh Miele, Latondra Newton, Mark Boire, Douglas Moore and Rajiv Dayal inside the new LightHouse Innovation Lab Sponsored by Toyota.

On August 2nd, a contingent from Toyota and Toyota Robotics came to the new LightHouse Building to present us with a gift of $100,000 for the Innovation Lab Sponsored by Toyota. The Lab is a place for accessible robotics, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and anything related to science for blind people of all ages. Toyota has been an active participant in LightHouse Labs since 2011 and their contributions have been invaluable.

As Josh Miele, past-board president said, “We want people who are blind to have a chance to do hands-on science, and only choose not to go into a STEM career because they want to do something else, not because they never had the chance to explore the possibilities.”

Blind Arduino Monthly Meetup (BAMM)

Interested in joining a hands-on group of blind and sighted Arduino makers for collaborative teaching, designing and building? We are thrilled to announce the Blind Arduino Monthly Meetup (BAMM) beginning on October 8, and meeting every second Saturday of the month thereafter at the new LightHouse Building in San Francisco.

Who: Makers of any age. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Where: LightHouse for the Blind, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103

When: Every second Saturday of the month.

The first meeting is Saturday, October 8.

Sign up to reserve a space at the first BAMM meetup on October 8.

Arduino is a widely popular microprocessor platform being used by makers, educators, designers, researchers, entrepreneurs and others to prototype and build robots and other powerful electromechanical devices. The Blind Arduino Project is led by Dr. Joshua Miele, and is a collaboration between the LightHouse and Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute to support blind makers who want to build things with Arduino.

Join us and be part of BAMM – the Bay Area’s regular in-person gathering of the Blind Arduino community. Spend an afternoon with us making, learning and connecting. Bring a project, a problem or just your curiosity and willingness to learn and help.

Yes You Can – Enchanted Hills Campers Become Accessibility “Makers”

By Josh Miele, Associate Director of Technology Research and Development, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Low Vision and Blindness at Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

PHOTO: STEM session student Rose McDougald plugs wire into an Arduino board.

Not everyone gets excited about building robots, but the students who are blind or have low vision that I worked with last week at the Enchanted Hills STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Camp definitely do. While most mainstream schools offer robotics clubs, programming classes, or electronics workshops, they often don’t know how to support participation by kids with visual disabilities. This workshop was part of The Blind Arduino Project – a larger effort to teach students and teachers about accessible electronics techniques, encouraging the participation of blind students in mainstream STEM-learning opportunities.

Sergio Ramirez and Lachlan Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

STEM session students Sergio Ramirez, left, and Lachlan Ryan give the thumbs while working on an Arduino board.

The sessions I taught at STEM Camp introduced blind kids to building robots and other electronic devices with Arduino – an inexpensive microprocessor that makes it extremely easy to design and build powerful automated gadgets with amazing capabilities. In a hands-on workshop, the students learned non-visual techniques for identifying electronic components, tracing wires and navigating the multitude of connections on an Arduino board. The kids learned about what Arduino can do, how to wire up sensors, speakers and motors, and even how to write their own programs to control the devices. But the most important thing they learned was that blind people can make stuff with Arduino. These young blind makers are now excited to bring that knowledge to school in the fall, ready to help their teachers make electronics learning accessible.

One of the aims of the Blind Arduino Project is to design devices to solve real-world accessibility challenges. Few experiences are more empowering than recognizing a barrier, designing a solution and building it yourself. For me, the greatest pleasure of the workshop came when two STEM students approached me with an idea. They had noticed that there were no audio indicators on the camp’s archery targets. They asked, “Could we use an Arduino to make a customizable beeper so we can hear where the target is?”

As a blind scientist who has built a career on finding creative technology solutions to accessibility challenges, this question thrilled me. These kids had a problem and they had independently designed and proposed a solution. After only a few hours of experience working with Arduino they were already using it to solve their own accessibility problems. Give them a few more years of experience and who knows what problems they will be ready to attack? What could be more personally and professionally satisfying than that?

“Yes, you definitely can,” I told them. “I’ll be right here if you need help.”

Beginning in October, Josh Miele is starting a Blind Arduino Monthly Meetup (BAMM) that will convene at the new LightHouse Building.

Read more about BAMM.

 

Blind Arduino Monthly Meetup (BAMM)

Blind Arduino Monthly Meetup (BAMM)

Interested in joining a hands-on group of blind and sighted Arduino makers for collaborative teaching, designing and building? We are thrilled to announce the Blind Arduino Monthly Meetup (BAMM) beginning on October 8, and meeting every second Saturday of the month thereafter at the new LightHouse Building in San Francisco.

Who: Makers of any age. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Where: LightHouse for the Blind, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103
When: Every second Saturday of the month.
The first meeting is Saturday, October 8.

Sign up to reserve a space at the first BAMM meetup on October 8.

Arduino is a widely popular microprocessor platform being used by makers, educators, designers, researchers, entrepreneurs and others to prototype and build robots and other powerful electromechanical devices. The Blind Arduino Project is led by Dr. Joshua Miele, and is a collaboration between the LightHouse and Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute to support blind makers who want to build things with Arduino.

Join us and be part of BAMM – the Bay Area’s regular in-person gathering of the Blind Arduino community. Spend an afternoon with us making, learning and connecting. Bring a project, a problem or just your curiosity and willingness to learn and help.

Youth Program Ocean Beach Outing with the Exploratorium on August 13

On Saturday, August 13, the LightHouse Youth Program will join our friends from the Exploratorium for a fun-filled activity and lesson about magnetic black sand. Under the guidance of Exploratorium staff, students will spend two hours collecting sand from Ocean Beach which they will then help sort at a later date.

Who: Students that are blind or have low vision.
What: Collect black sand for an exhibit in Exploratorium.
When: Saturday, August 13, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon.
Where: (Please note that the location where we will meet has changed.) We will gather near the public restrooms on Ocean Beach near the intersection of the Great Highway and Taraval Street.
Waiver: Each youth participant must fill out and submit a LightHouse Youth Program Application if they have not done so already.

If you would like more information or to RSVP for this event please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at 415-694-7372 or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org by Wednesday August 24.

Spaces Filling up Fast for STEM, Woodworking, Horse Camp Sessions at Enchanted Hills Camp

Our special STEM, woodworking and horse camp sessions are returning this summer. Whether you’re a budding scientist, interested in creating artful objects from wood or ready to learn how to properly care for horses, we have the camp session for you.

To sign up for any of these sessions, contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318 for an application or with any questions. You’ll also find descriptions of the sessions and online applications on our website.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for Youth
This year Enchanted Hills Camp is again offering a special STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program within our Youth Session at Enchanted Hills. The STEM program will run from July 13 to 16 and will provide students ages 11 to 15 with an unforgettable, hands-on learning experience in Science, Engineering and Technology and Math. More than education and fun, though, all participants will work with real-life blind scientists, chemists and engineers who will leave an unforgettable impression that adult science success is possible with little or no vision.

During the class, students will take part in hands-on, accessible and innovative activities including computing, rocket building, plant biology and chemistry. Students will also learn how to build their own accessible electronic devices using the popular Arduino systems and have the opportunity to take a field trip to the Exploratorium in San Francisco for some special hands-on instruction by Exploratorium scientists.

Parents and guardians who wish to register their children for the STEM program can do so on a supplemental section which is included with the Youth Session application.

  • Who: Youth ages 11 to 15
  • When: Wednesday, July 13 through Saturday, July 16
  • Cost: $60 Session Fee (free for those attending the youth session)

To sign up for this session, contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318 for an application or with any questions.

Woodworking with George Wurtzel
Join expert carpenter George Wurtzel for a week long workshop designed for transition aged campers that are beginners and intermediate woodworkers.

This class will cover wood turning, hand tool work and an introduction to power tools. We’ll learn how to measure accurately without sight, using click rules, gauge blocks, Vernier calipers and talking tape measures. We’ll talk about wood types and construction techniques and learn when to glue, when to nail and when to use screws. We’ll also touch on finishing techniques.

  • Who: Youth ages 16 through 24
  • When: Monday, August 1 through Sunday, August 7, 2016
  • Cost: $300.00
  • Class is limited to 12 participants, so sign up now

To sign up for this special workshop, contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318 for an application or with any questions.

Horse Camp with Diane Starin
Join us again for Horse Camp. Participants will have a chance to learn from avid horseback rider and wrangler, Diane Starin. Starin, who is blind, has owned, ridden, taught and cared for horses for more than 30 years. She has an Associates of Science degree in agricultural business, a Certificate in Horse Husbandry and is a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor.

This camp session is for blind or visually impaired riders, ages 16 through 24. It is geared for those that have ridden before, but not a lot. Starin has a wealth of knowledge about the proper care of horses, and students will have a truly unique chance to learn from a blind professional how it’s done with little or no sight.

Diane told us, “Horses have been my passion since I was about two and I have wanted to teach a horse camp for as long as I can remember. This is especially important to me, because blind people don’t have as much of a chance to ride and handle horses.”

  • Who: Youth ages 16 through 24
  • When: Monday, August 1 through Sunday, August 7, 2016
  • Cost for each camper is $300.
  • Space is limited to six participants, so sign up while spaces are available. We expect this session to be very popular.

Besides riding lessons and instruction on horse care (including a visit with a farrier), scheduled outings include a tour of the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Center, driving a horse team at Rush Ranch, provided by Access Adventures. Started in 2005 by Mike Muir, the great grandson of environmentalist John Muir, Access Adventures will be providing an excellent opportunity for our campers to connect with nature through the horses.

A separate application is available for this session. Campers must have independent mobility skills.

Objectives for Horse Camp

  • Teach safety
  • Teach grooming
  • Teach tacking up
  • Teach good care and maintenance
  • Expand each camper’s knowledge of different kinds of equipment and their different applications
  • Riding and lessons as time and skill level allow

To sign up for this session, contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318 for an application or with any questions.

Spaces Filling up Fast for Horse, Music and Woodworking Special Camp Sessions

Our special STEM, woodworking and horse camp sessions return to Enchanted Hills Camp for another summer. Read on for details on each session.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for Youth
This year Enchanted Hills Camp is again offering a special STEM program within our Youth Session at Enchanted Hills. The STEM program will run from July 13 to 16 and will provide students ages 11 to 15 or are blind or have low vision with an unforgettable, hands-on learning experience in Science, Engineering and Technology and Math. More than education and fun, though, all participants will work with real-life blind scientists, chemists and engineers who will leave an unforgettable impression that adult science success is possible with little or no vision.

During the class, students will take part in hands-on, accessible and innovative activities including computing, rocket building, plant biology and chemistry. Students will also have the opportunity to take a field trip to the Exploratorium in San Francisco for some special hands on instruction by Exploratorium scientists.

Parents and guardians who wish to register their children for the STEM program can do so on a supplemental section which is included with the Youth Session application.

Who: Youth ages 11 to 15
When: Wednesday, July 13 through Saturday, July 16
Cost: $60 Session Fee (free for those attending the youth session)

To find out more about this session, contact Camp Director Tony Fletcher at afletcher@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7319, for an application or with any questions.

 

Woodworking with George Wurtzel

Student Amy Liu works with wood during a session at Enchanted Hills

 Join expert carpenter George Wurtzel for a week long workshop designed for transition aged campers that are beginners and intermediate woodworkers.

This class will cover wood turning, hand tool work and an introduction to power tools. We’ll learn how to measure accurately without sight, using click rules, gauge blocks, Vernier calipers and talking tape measures. We’ll talk about wood types and construction techniques and learn when to glue, when to nail and when to use screws. We’ll also touch on finishing techniques.

Who: Youth ages 16 through 24
When: Monday, August 1 through Sunday, August 7, 2016
Cost: $300.00
Class is limited to 12 participants, so sign up now

To sign up for this special workshop, contact Camp Director Tony Fletcher at tfletcher@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7319 for an application or with any questions.

Horse Camp with Diane Starin

Join us again for Horse Camp. Participants will have a chance to learn from avid horseback rider and wrangler, Diane Starin. Starin, who is blind, has owned, ridden, taught and cared for horses for more than 30 years. She has an Associates of Science degree in agricultural business, a Certificate in Horse Husbandry and is a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor.

This camp session is for blind or visually impaired riders, ages 16 through 24. It is geared for those that have ridden before, but not a lot. Starin has a wealth of knowledge about the proper care of horses, and students will have a truly unique chance to learn from a blind professional how it’s done with little or no sight.

Diane told us, “Horses have been my passion since I was about two and I have wanted to teach a horse camp for as long as I can remember. This is especially important to me, because blind people don’t have as much of a chance to ride and handle horses.”

Who: Youth ages 16 through 24
When: Monday, August 1 through Sunday, August 7, 2016
Cost for each camper is $300.
Space is limited to six participants, so sign up while spaces are available. We expect this session to be very popular.

A separate application is available for this session. Campers must have independent mobility skills.

Objectives for Horse Camp:

  • Teach safety
  • Teach grooming
  • Teach tacking up
  • Teach good care and maintenance
  • Expand each camper’s knowledge of different kinds of equipment and their different applications
  • Riding and lessons as time and skill level allows

To find out more about this session, contact Camp Director Tony Fletcher at afletcher@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7319 for an application or with any questions.

A Day at the Exploratorium – LightHouse Youth Program

logo for ExploratoriumJoin the LightHouse Youth Program for an exciting day of interactive science and endless exploration at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Students that sign up to join us for this event will not only get the chance to experience the Exploratorium, they will be part of a team that will help train the High School Explainers be more prepared to help any future museum guests who are blind or have low vision. After we finish our activities with our new friends from the Exploratorium we have the chance to tour the museum floor until the museum closes at 5:00.

Who: Youth who are between the ages of 8 and 18 and are blind or who have low vision.
What: A day of interactive science and exploring at the Exploratorium.
When: Saturday April 2, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Exploratorium – located at Pier 15 & Embarcadero, San Francisco
Meeting Location:  Information Desk near the front entrance of the Exploratorium
Cost: FREE
Waiver: Each participant must complete a LightHouse Youth Program Application, if they have not done so already.
What to bring: Good walking shoes, bag lunch or money for lunch, water bottle, and warm layers of clothing. Please be sure to also bring necessary adaptive equipment such as cane or magnifier.

If you would like more information or to RSVP for this event please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at (415) 694-7372 or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

High School Students — Get Ready for Reactions at Chemistry Camp 2016

Students watch a chemistry experiment during Chemistry Camp.Would you like to learn how blind people tackle the visual subject of organic chemistry successfully? Do you have a general love for science? Do you want to learn how you can do chemistry as a blind person just as successfully as your sighted peers? Are you interested in how blind professionals use science in their careers every day? If the answer to any of these is “Yes!” then the 2016 Chemistry Camp is for you.

Join the LightHouse, Accessible Science and Credo High School for an educational, exciting, and fun-filled weekend of hands-on science.

When: Friday, March 18, 2016 through Sunday, March 20, 2016.
Where: Enchanted Hills Camp, 3410 Mt Veeder Rd, Napa, CA 94558
Who: Up to twelve legally blind high school students will be selected to participate. Don’t hesitate to apply if you are in middle school or just out of high school. We do make exceptions.
Cost: There is no cost to apply for the program.
For more information and to apply, visit: http://www.accessiblescience.org/chemistrycamp.

Questions? Email Angela Fowler at angela.fowler@accessiblescience.org.

Funded in part by American Honda Foundation.

Sign Up by Tomorrow – LightHouse Youth Program, the Exploratorium and NFB Team up for a Weekend of Science this Spring

Young Tino Benneli and Andre Berardi face off during a Battle-Bot competition, part of the robotics segment of our recent TouchSTEM session at Enchanted Hills.
Note: Deadline to apply for NFB STEM2U is tomorrow, January 5, 2016.

As part of a national grant to make science museums more accessible for the blind, the LightHouse will partner with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the Exploratorium for three days of science for blind school students from around California.

To address the lack of blind youth entering technical careers, the LightHouse believes we need to start early. Earlier than previously thought possible. Parents of blind children in grades 3 to 6 may want to consider this introductory session which features fun activities and great mentorship opportunities.

The free NFB STEM2U program will provide exciting accessible STEM learning opportunities for blind students in grades 3-6. Parents will also have the opportunity to join in the fun and learning.

What: NFB STEM2U San Francisco
When: March 3-5, 2016
Where: Exploratorium, San Francisco

Learn more and apply at www.blindscience.org/nfb-stem2u. If you have questions, please contact Natalie Shaheen at STEM@nfb.org.