EAST LIBERTY (KDKA) — It’s National Robotics Week at AlphaLab Gear in East Liberty. Organizer Laura Kelly of Innovation Works, Inc. says middle school students were helped by engineers from three local companies.

“They very graciously volunteered to be here, to teach the kids and mentor the kids throughout the day.”

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Chloe Tassone of Pittsburgh Capa runs a sort of tennis ball front loader, built by the RE-Squared company.

“We had sixth graders, seventh graders and eighth graders in a tennis ball relay race,” says Lisa Michaux-Smith, of RE-Squared. “The treads get it partway up the stairs, and Chloe has the flippers which help get it up the stairs.”

On a larger scale, Ellis School students manipulate what seems to be a fabric covered beach ball.

“We built a robot called Atlas to pick up and deliver the ball,” student Mhairi Webster explains.

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A roller helps the Bossanova robot get around obstacles. It’s a tighter squeeze for the much larger Autodesk Recap robot.

“You can put in a program, sort of like things hey have at hospitals, and it can do it on its own,” says Michael Elinoff of Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy. “Or it can be programmed as it goes.”

It’s not just kids. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald tries out a user friendly wheelchair from Pitt.

“Very smart individuals are bringing their brainpower to Pittsburgh,” he says. “And they’re collaborating with each other, they’re working with each other, developing the next generation of products to make our life easier.”

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