The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Not your daddy's Boy Scout merit badge: Robots!

April 14, 2011 |  5:10 pm


Boy Scouts have a pretty good idea of what it takes to earn a merit badge: backpacking a mountain trail, snagging a trout at the local pond, or perhaps paddling down a stream in a wooden canoe.

But nowadays, heading into the great outdoors is the old way of getting yourself a badge.

Earlier this week, the Boy Scouts of America unveiled a new merit badge that’s earned when scouts design and build a robot.

The new “robotics” merit badge was created through a collaboration between the Boy Scouts and NASA in order to help scouts develop skills that are relevant and needed in today's world, the groups said in a joint release.

"While the guiding principles of scouting -- service to others, leadership, personal achievement, and respect for the outdoors -- will never change, we continue to adapt programs to prepare young people for success in all areas of life," said Bob Mazzuca, the Boy Scouts of America’s chief scout executive.

Here's a sampling of what it takes to earn a badge: Robotics_badge

"Design your robot. The robot design should use sensors and programming and have at least 2 degrees of freedom. Document the design in your robot engineering notebook using drawings and a written description."

"Share your robot engineering notebook with your counselor. Talk about how well your robot accomplished the task, the improvements you would make in your next design, and what you learned about the design process."

The Boy Scouts said that more than 10,000 robotics merit badges are expected to be earned within a year.... Hmm. Doing the math here, that's an awful lot of robots.


Robot trained to care for the elderly at University of Connecticut

Consumer Electronics Show: Robots, robots, everywhere!

Northrop Grumman produces music video of X-47B drone's first flight [Video]

-- W.J. Hennigan

Top photo: The head of "ROBBIXA," created and developed by ZigZag Productions, shown during the "Innovo" fair on March 24 in Lyon, France. Credit: Philippe Merle / AFP/Getty Images

Second photo:  The robotics badge. Credit: Boy Scouts of America