Robotics Camp


July 20 - July 24, 2020

Registration is now full. Please join us again in 2021!

We are excited to bring you a special online edition of the Texas RoboCamp for 2020!  There are many fantastic software tools that we use both for programming real robots and for simulating robots in research labs both at UT Austin and elsewhere. Our plan for 2020 is to present to you an online version of the RoboCamp which leverages these tools to bring you the same great content!

Where/when is the camp?

The Robotics Camp will be held virtually, wherever in the world you are!  The camp will be held July 20-24 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. CST with a break for lunch.  Students may spend additional hours in the evening working on projects and will have access to camp counselors who can answer questions and help them with their projects throughout the evening.

Who Can Attend?

The camp is open to boys and girls going into 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades. 

What will we be doing?

Campers can look forward to:

  • Robotics projects carried out in simulation, using tools used in robotics research like ROS and Gazebo
  • Learning to program in the C++ programming language
  • Experimenting with the basic controls of a wheeled robot, implementing PID control, and competing against other students in a race to see whose robot is the fastest
  • Talks from UT professors and other robotics professionals
  • Meeting with the UT admissions team and hearing about ways to make your UT college application stand out among the rest
  • Interacting with other students who enjoy technology as much as you do
  • Above all, having fun!

We will be using the same tools leveraged for online instruction of CS 309: Freshman Research Initiative - Autonomous Robots in the instruction of this camp.   We are planning a similar set of exercises to those we do in the in-person version of the camp, only in simulation. Students can look forward to working through a set of online modules with the aid and supervision of counselors who have been researching with Dr. Justin Hart at UT Austin.

Modules include:

  • An introduction to Linux
  • An introduction to C++, appropriate for all levels of programming experience
  • Running the robot in ROS and Gazebo
  • Exploring how the robot moves
  • Experiments on the robot’s sensors, including obstacle detection and line following
  • Exploring the turn & push behavior from Grey Walter’s tortoises, similar to as implemented on the Roomba vacuum cleaner
  • Line following and racing line followers
  • Bonus content for students who have extra time or wish to continue their exploration after the conclusion of the camp

Campers will need a computer, a webcam + microphone, and internet access. We will distribute thumb drives a few weeks prior to camp to allow campers to test the software on their machines and debug prior to camp. The drive will have a runnable Linux OS installed on it, but we will also provide resources allowing those with Linux machines at home to load our software locally on their machines. Minimum system requirements to be determined, though we have the objective of supporting as many platforms as possible.

Do I have to have previous robotics or programming experience?

No experience? No problem! It is necessary to be curious and interested in programming, computer science and artificial intelligence.


Dr. Justin Hart, assistant director of Texas Robotics and an assistant professor of practice with the College of Natural Sciences, the Department of Computer Science,  and the Learning Agents Research Group, will be teaching students how to build and program robots.  Camp Directors, Tiffany Buckley and Mary Esther Middleton have worked for the Department of Computer Science for 15+ years on summer camps, admissions, enrollment, student organizations and diversity initiatives.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be a high school student entering your freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year in fall 2020.

Cost of Camp

  • Tuition for the camp is $750.

Cancellation and Refund policy

Prior to June 1 - Full refund minus a $100 deposit per session canceled.

June 1 - June 15 - You will receive 75% of your registration fee.

June 16 - July 1 - You will receive 50% of your registration fee.

After July 1 - No refunds will be given. 


If you have financial need and would like to apply for a scholarship, please fill out this application by June 1. We will let you know if you are chosen by June 15.
Scholarship Application

Questions? Please contact Tiffany Buckley at