BANGOR - It's not often you think of a toothbrush as a material in building a robot, but Thursday night it was during 'Family Engineering Night' at the Challenger Learning Center. There was also quite a bit of strategizing that went into solving the problem that was on the table.
Bristlebugs and bird island, the scenario at the Challenger Learning Center Thursday that had kids and their families attending the annual event.
"We always try to do an event towards the end of January in honor of the Challenger crew's memory," Jennifer Therrien, Educational Director at the center, says. "Another way we can continue their mission is to get kids and their families excited about math and science."
Over 40 kids and parents attended family engineering night, taking on various jobs of that field.
Additionally students from the University of Maine were there to assist the unique project. One they say was a great way to engage the young.
"They have a task and challenge that they need to complete and that's not so different from the things they would need to accomplish in real life," Evelyn Fairman, Vice President of the Society of Women Engineers at UMaine, says.
Up first was engineering the 'bristlebug', made from a toothbrush, motor, and battery.
"Once the circuit is on it makes the bug vibrate, and hopefully it vibrates straight," Fairman says. "If the battery is off just slightly it will spin around in a circle."
Kids and parents say that was the most challenging aspect of putting the bristlebug together.
"If you put a lot of weight on the top of the toothbrush head it tend to just fall over," Russ Young, of Bucksport, says.
Next was creating an obstacle course for the bugs, eventually connecting them all together to surround bird island.
For some in attendance the event meant so much more than engineering.
"It means a lot because I never get to see him anymore since he's always traveling for his job," Sydney Young says.
"I'm a pretty busy guy so any chance I can get to spend time with my daughter, especially at educational fun events like this, we take advantage," Young says.
All the proceeds from the night's event will go towards funding the center's numerous programs and events.
Two huge sponsors of Thursday's event were Cornerstone Energy Services, and S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc.