Quilpie's St Finbarr's Primary School students pose with their hand crafted robotic dogs.
Quilpie's St Finbarr's Primary School students pose with their hand crafted robotic dogs.

Students unleash on robotic dogs project

As the saying goes, dogs are a man's best friend. But what about robotic dogs?

Thanks to a live video link, the Year 3-6 students at Quilpie's St Finbarr's Primary School are able to answer this question, as they work to build their very own 'pet' robotic programmable dog.

Using pre-packaged parts, the students were instructed over video conference by Professor Stephen Winn, who is based 800 kilometres away in an office at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba.

St Finbarr's teacher Jocelyn Haylock said the kids had been enthralled by the project.

"USQ brought out a camera system and a TV for us to be able to hook in with their lessons,” Ms Haylock said.

"Every Tuesday afternoon our year three to six classes would gather together to make their robotic dogs with cardboard, then we would wire them up and give them LED lights for eyes.

"At the end of the project, each child had their own robotic dog that could move it's head and flash it's eyes. They loved it, absolutely loved it, and they are taking the dogs home today.

"The project helped to show that we aren't left out, and that we can have and do the same things as schools in the city areas.”

The lessons are part of a USQ project to strengthen links between education institutions located regionally and rurally around Queensland, led by Head of School Professor Stephen Winn and Lecturer Rod Fogarty.

"As part of this project, we're developing video conferencing links to connect schools with each other and the University,” Mr Fogarty said.

"Locations such as Quilpie are a long way from regional centres and just don't have the same access to resources and expertise that is seen in metropolitan areas.

"We can't let geographical distances stop us from providing these communities with learning and teaching support.

"There is also a great deal we can learn about learning and teaching in rural and remote communities in this way.”