MTA Group

Local students see science and engineering in action with MABEL, the bipedal robot

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"There was more electricity in the air than the EECS building has seen in awhile!" laughed Prof. Jessy Grizzle, Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering and principal architect behind the locomotion of the robot called MABEL. "It was a wave of enthusiasm when they poured into the lab. I have never had so many questions in 15 minutes in my life.  It was awesome. What a great group of kids."

These young enthusiastic students were visiting from the Michigan Technical Academy (MTA). MTA is a preK-8th grade school that serves children considered to be at high academic risk, with the goal of developing students who can compete on a global level. Some of the children had never been outside Detroit.

The students made sure MABEL's limbs were in working order. They discussed science with Prof. Grizzle ("yes, that's called gravity. And now we're talking physics"). They even borrowed MABEL's official Michigan football helmet.

MTA and MABEL MTA and MI helmet
MTA group 2

Nicholas (Nick) Clift, who works with the Detroit Partnership, arranged for the visit. The Detroit Partnership aims to create meaningful partnerships between Detroit and Michigan.

"They loved it!," reported Nick to Jessy and his team. "You gave them a very powerful introduction to the incredible, exciting things that can be accomplished with engineering, science and math. I'm confident that this experience will serve as an inspiration for them to study math and science and pursue a college education for years to come."

The experience also made an impact on the U-M researchers. Dr. Kevin Galloway, a post-doctoral researcher on the MABEL team, stated, "I was impressed by their great questions! It was refreshing to see so much interest and enthusiasm. I think they were ready to start programming MABEL themselves!"

Prof. Grizzle and his team get many visitors to see MABEL (more about the CNN and ESPN visits). Though she wasn't up to walking during this visit, her world-record run, her ability to walk on uneven surfaces, and her rather large step-downs were all on video for the students to watch.

Here are members of the MABEL team gearing up for the visit:

MABEL team
L-R: Dr. Kevin Galloway, Alireza Ramezani, Kaveh Hamed, Prof. Jessy Grizzle

March 23, 2012

Catharine June

EECS/ECE Communications Coordinator or 734-936-2965

"I think the robot was awesome!"

said Joshua Allen, 5th grader at Michigan Technical Academy, about MABEL. He and fellow classmates visited the College of Engineering to get a taste of science and engineering in action.

Additional Info

Prof. Jessy Grizzle's Lab

Nicholas Clift, The Detroit Partnership, School Programs Team, Electrical Engineering

Michigan Technical Academy

Detroit Partnership

What the Students Said

"It was cool! I liked when it walked around the room and when it tripped."
Kiyah Griffin, 5th grade

"MABEL was pretty cool to see walk without arms and eyes!"
Lanae Lockridge, 5th grade

"I think the robot was awesome!"
Joshua Allen, 5th grade