Ramstein youth group brings home innovation award

by Airman 1st Class Nate Gettleman
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Every year 4-H Club sponsors a national youth science day which allows 4-H’ers all throughout the world to conduct similar experiments. This year was the eco-robot project. “The kids used vibrating motors from cell phones, toothbrushes and lithium batteries to create a miniature robot.

They then used these robots to clean simulated oil spills and environmental contaminates,” said Mona Hamilton, Ramstein Youth Programs Director. “They used double-sided tape to tape the batteries and the motors onto toothbrushes and when they completed the circuit, the toothbrushes would vibrate.”
The children, most between the ages of 9 and 12, were given a map that showed various geographical features and used materials such as rice and sand to simulate a contaminant.

They set their toothbrush robots loose on the map to see how much of the contaminant they could clean without direct human guidance. They could, however, use items such as cones to try to direct their creations in a particular direction, Hamilton said.

To help demonstrate the experiment’s practical application, Ramstein Youth Programs brought in members of the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron to explain how science and technology help them overcome the challenges they face on a daily basis and successfully accomplish the mission. Airmen from explosive ordnance disposal also came to give a demonstration of the technology that keeps them safe.

“All of the programs that participated in national science day were able to submit their projects to the national 4-H office,” said Hamilton. ”We won one of the innovation awards.”

Ramstein Youth Services has a variety of after school programs for children of all ages to participate in. For more information, call 480-6444 or visit www.86fss.com.