County Fair Entrants Now 'Grow' Robots, Too

Peter Jon Shuler/KQED News

Abhishek Paramasvian and Priyam Das from Aragon High School Robotics Team demonstrate their Frisbee throwing robot.

This week's San Mateo County Fair is expanding its exhibits in creative new ways. 
It is part of a growing trend at fairs, many of which now honor student accomplishments in science and math alongside the traditional areas of agriculture and handicrafts.
Of course, most people still come for the rides and the cotton candy. But they also stop to check out a Frisbee-throwing robot designed by a high school robotics team.
Priyam Das, co-captain of the robotics team, will be a senior this fall at Aragon High School in San Mateo.
“I honestly think it’s really great,” she says. “It’s actually been a lot of fun for us to just come out and show the public our robot."
Das adds, "But it is kind of just a progression with the times."
Gabriel Colaluca heads the fair’s Department of Technology and Industrial Arts. He says fairs throughout the state are committed to education. And today that means a bigger emphasis on science and technology.
“The fair has always been driven by the youth,” he says. “And in order to keep them involved, we’re going to need to stay up with what they’re interested in. A lot of that is programming. We have an app contest, we have computer programming, and a lot of other areas that kids are interested in doing hands-on.”
Colaluca says next year's plans include a full robotics competition that will double the size of the current exhibits. 
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