Toyota, BiblioTech Launch Robotics Program For San Antonio Youth

Jun 9, 2014

Andy Chen examines the top portion of his team's robot.
Andy Chen examines the top portion of his team's robot.
Credit Joey Palacios / TPR News

BiblioTech, Bexar County’s all-digital bookless library, is launching its own set of robotics teams for children and students.

Education initiatives for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs are exploding around the city. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas has awarded BiblioTech $15,000 to create a team robotics program called the First Lego League (FLL).

“We think that the FLL and First Robotics Programs are a good match for the workforce development that we need at Toyota and other parts of the community like Boeing, Lockheed, and tech industries like that,” said Mario Lozoya, the director of governmental relations at Toyota.

Since the South Side Toyota plant has been open it has never been able to fill 100 percent of it’s high skilled positions due to a lack of qualified talent.

Andy Chen is a member of MAKBOTS, a youth robotics team made up of three 12 year olds from different schools. They built a small robot made of Legos and that looks like a red and white tank. It has to complete several tasks under a natural disaster scenario on a map with other Lego structures.

“We program the robot using a computer and then we run the programs and then we used the tools we designed to go around the mission," Chen said.

MAKBOTS won second place in a regional competition recently and competed at Legoland in California, where they placed fifth.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said engaging children in this manner is one of best ways to get them involved in STEM fields.

“I think it inspires them to continue their school activities to really develop some skills in different areas and this is just one of the programs that helps us bring kids into the world of technology," Wolff said. "It's a whole new world today."

BiblioTech's robotics teams will begin meeting the week of June 16.