GreenSight SeaJelly Robotics Bootcamp

March 21, 2024

GreenSight hosted a three-day robotics bootcamp for local Boston high school students

In collaboration with the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), GreenSight recently hosted a three-day bootcamp where several of our engineers taught STEM skills to nine high school students from the Boston area through the construction of “SeaJelly” robots. GreenSight has been working to develop these soft aquatic jellyfish-inspired robots into a STEM education kit that will introduce middle and high school students to valuable STEM skills including 3D printing, prepping and casting silicone rubber, electrical component soldering, programming, and general robot assembly.

On day one of the bootcamp, Maria Kloiber, one of GreenSight’s mechanical engineers, taught students about how to prepare 3D models for 3D printing and helped all of the students to print a small test part. The rest of the day was spent in our manufacturing and R&D lab space to begin work on the SeaJelly robots. Maria, in collaboration with Helena Win, Abigail Hiruy and Angela Tejada, GreenSight’s high school interns, then introduced students to the process of casting silicone into 3D printed molds. This involved prepping the molds with sealant and mold release, measuring and mixing liquid silicone, adding dyes, using a vacuum pump to remove excess air bubbles from the silicone, and properly filling the molds.

In addition to learning silicone molding skills, students also began learning how to solder and connect electrical components to a printed circuit board. Riley Intihar and Oliver Hugh, two of our electrical engineering co-ops, led an introduction to the concept of soldering, a breakdown of how the SeaJelly circuit board works, and a demonstration of how to properly and safely solder, then guided students through the process of soldering and attaching components to their boards. By the end of the bootcamp, students had learned about a wide array of electrical components including LEDs, resistors, and even more advanced components like transistors.

On day two, we wrapped up the silicone molding and soldering. At this point, the silicone parts created on day one had cured, so students were taught how to safely remove their parts from the molds. The SeaJelly arms are created in two halves, so once the halves were removed from the molds students then attached the halves together with more silicone. With that, the SeaJelly arms were left to cure for the remainder of the day in preparation for the full assembly.

In the afternoon of day two, bootcamp students were led through a coding workshop led by Kyle Sayers, one of GreenSight’s software engineers. Students were given laptops for this activity and worked in groups to program their own Arduino microcontroller. They learned about how to set up their computers to program the Arduinos, and were shown how they could use Arduinos to write instructions for the SeaJelly robots. Students were also given lessons on basic coding concepts and the rules of C++. Then, students worked through several coding exercises to demonstrate how to send information and data through the Arduinos. 

Day three concluded the coding exercises and the full assembly of the SeaJelly robots. In the coding workshop on day three, students learned about programming basics and got to manipulate LEDs via code. For the full assembly, students used various waterproof glues to attach the arms of the SeaJelly together, and then to attach the pumps that control the SeaJelly arms. To finish the full assembly, students put together the central canisters that contain the SeaJelly controls board and battery and sealed them with additional silicone parts and waterproof glues to create a watertight seal. 

For the live testing of the robots, students powered on the control boards and placed the robots into our demonstration tank. While some ran into a few issues, a bit of troubleshooting and resealing of pump lines and canisters enabled the SeaJelly robots to successfully swim around in the water. After only three days of STEM skill learning, students were able to see their hard work materialize into functional aquatic jellyfish robots.

The SeaJelly bootcamp was an outstanding success, and both the high schoolers and the GreenSight team learned a great deal from the experience. We would like to thank the students who attended the bootcamp from local Boston-area high schools (including Charlestown High School, Dearborn Academy, Boston Latin Academy, and ACC) for their hard work, determination, curiosity, and positive attitudes. We would also like to sincerely thank the Boston Private Industry Council for helping recruit the students and for sponsoring this event, James Sproul for helping organize and run the bootcamp, and the Office of Naval Research for funding the SeaJelly project. The students learned an impressive number of STEM skills, and by the end of the bootcamp every single student emerged a better STEM thinker and engineer. The process of making the SeaJelly robots demonstrated that even high schoolers with little-to-no robotics experience can quickly develop valuable STEM skills to make functional underwater robots. Based on the results of this bootcamp and of the post-bootcamp survey of the students, we are optimistic that this helped inspire the students we worked with and increased their confidence in their ability to pursue a career in the world of STEM.


Maria Kloiber

Mechanical Systems Engineer

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