Robots on display

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Within 20 years, the standard computer should be able to process 20 million billion calculations per second -- the same amount as humans, electronics instructor Chuck Schoeffler told St. Teresa students Wednesday.

"Will it have intelligence? We don't know," Schoeffler said. "We don't know if processing power sparks that intelligence or if God has to put it there."

But Dominic Anxl, 12, argued it is more than the ability to think that makes a human.

"I think to be a real person, you need to have a soul," Dominic said. "A real person has to have feelings, has to be able to love and be happy."

But that doesn't take away from the allure of robots.

"I think they're cool," Dominic said.

Schoeffler, who teaches at Western Nevada Community College, brought in a variety of robots and demonstrated their abilities.

One was programmed to go forward until obstructed, then it would turn.

"I like the one that when it bumps into things, it turns around," said Gwen Swift, 12. "I think it's smarter than the other ones."

Schoeffler also showed a video of engineers who studied the movement of basic six-legged insects and even centipedes and millipedes to create accurate robots.

They found all of them moved in a tripod-like fashion with two legs on one side and one on the other touching the ground at all times.

A former Catholic school student, Schoeffler advised the students to remain dedicated to their school work when they graduate from St. Teresa after the eighth grade.

"Just be careful you keep pushing yourself once you go to public school," he said. "It'll be a lot easier."

Brad Lewis, 13, found it easy to relate to Schoeffler.

"He's pretty good," Brad said. "He has a good personality and he seems friendly."


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