PAA Senior Studies Robots During JPL Internship

Most Americans have had the opportunity of seeing some of the amazing things that can be done with robots, but Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) senior Adam Wall got to see and experience the cutting edge of robotics by doing a summer internship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

While there, Wall worked with a team developing miniature six-legged robots ultimately planned for space exploration, possibly on a Mars mission. These "spiderbots" are designed to be relatively inexpensive and to link with similar robots to accomplish larger and more complex tasks.

Wall was able to integrate knowledge and experiences from his summer internship into his senior project. JPL loaned him one of the robots that he had worked with during the summer to use in his senior demonstration along with videos of his work at JPL.

Because of his previous experience with car restoration, construction and electrical schematics as well as the technology class he took at PAA, Wall was able to do more than most interns like building his own simple prototype robot in 12 hours, designing and configuring the control units for other robots, and producing circuit boards for other projects.

In the near term, Wall would like to spend next summer again at JPL, this time in a paid position rather than as an intern volunteer.

Long term, he feels that this experience has really awakened an interest in him to become an engineer and ultimately a project manager in a situation similar to what he did last summer at JPL. Wall is looking forward to learning more about computer programming and math, both studies that he will have to master for a future in this area.

August 01, 2004 / Oregon Conference