Education is supposed to illuminate metaphorical lights in students’ minds, but teenagers who took part in the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab had the chance to light real ones.
The ninth- and 10th-graders from Arlington Tech High School who took part Aug. 17 in the second of two lab sessions, held at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, learned how to draw an electrical schematic for a basic traffic light, then assembled components and keyed in computer codes to make the miniature red, amber and green bulbs light up.
Abby Dhakal and Diana Vasquez O’Dea began experimenting with their lights, and soon had all three bulbs cycling within about a second. Lab director Jim Egenrieder observed their progress and showed them how to swap the traffic bulbs for a pair of blue ones, the rapid alternating of which gave a “police light” effect.
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