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Improving the Lives of Pennsylvanians

The STEM club participated in the regional Governor’s Challenge at the IU13 on February 13. Team members were Rebecca Garton, Caitlin Usavage, Luke McGinnis, Emma Zanin and Ethan Rohrer with significant contributions by Tyler Zanin (not pictured). The team was challenged to research, present and design a device/project that can make the quality of life better for citizens of Pennsylvania. They created an interactive room sign to assist blind people. Instead of using Braille, someone could touch the door sign and it would say the name of the room in whatever language the user needed. Learners used Raspberry Pi and Arduino devices to do this. A Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. This device enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. An Arduino is an open source computer hardware and software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures single-board microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical world. The team was provided a $500 stipend to design and build a prototype of their device/project that can accomplish a series of tasks, provide a solution to a community-based problem, and improves the lives of Pennsylvanians.