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These robots have a mission

The wire-and-servo constructs awaiting attendees of an upcoming robotics day camp at the Medford library have unique personalities and names to match.

Ozobot makes a hard case for being at least a distant cousin to R2D2 and follows colorful lines. There's also Dash-bot, who navigates mazes and makes noise. Boebot navigates mazes, too. Scribbler draws and dances while flashing lights.

Fun summer pals, to be sure, but the series of 2-day camps, which run between July 31 and Aug. 31, also have an academic endgame, one in which the 10- to 14-year-old campgoers learn to program the robots and tell them what to do.

"The primary reason is to teach them STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and coding," says Linda Nichols-Plowman, CEO of Interactive Media Publishing, an educational materials company in Phoenix, which is putting on the event. "But they're also going to have a lot of fun with the robots."

The camps have morning sessions from 9 a.m. to noon and afternoon sessions from 1 to 4 p.m. A complete list of dates is available online at http://exploringrobots.com/index.php/grade-levels/robot-camp.html, where you can also sign up. It costs $150 to attend. Each class has a limit of 16 kids, but there is still plenty of space.

It's the event's first year, Nichols-Plowman says. The camp's primary focus is to get students thinking about education and career fields in science and engineering.

"This is one of the hot areas for jobs in the future," she says. "STEM and coding in particular. It's a really a needed job skill. The sooner we can get them thinking about it the better."

Call 541-535-5552 or email camp@exploringrobotics.com.

— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.