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Tech Exploration Summer Program

Curious about coding? Riveted by robots? Mad about making?
Exploring a future college major or career in technology?

Join us at the Global Innovation Exchange for an immersive four-week program this summer to explore a new area of technology in a collaborative, team-based learning environment.

Choose a track to gain an in-depth look at one of the following technology areas:

GIX111: Design + Fabrication (In-Person)
GIX112: Internet of Things Devices (Remote) – CLOSED!
GIX113: Robotics (In-Person)
Data Science Tools (Remote)

No matter which track you pick, you will gain a basic understanding of each of these technologies and work together on a final collaborative project that applies to them all.

July 12 – August 5, 2021
Mondays – Thursdays
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Early bird registration ends May 23
$250 deposit to reserve your spot

Quick Links
What Will I Learn?
How Much Does It Cost?
Who Should Enroll?
What Should I Expect?
Why Should I Enroll?
What Will I Gain?

Key Details:

July 12 - August 5, 2021
(4 weeks)
Monday - Thursday
9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Regular Fee: $2,500
Early bird (through 5/23): $1,975
Virtual and in-person options
$250 deposit due upon registration to reserve your spot

Is This Program for Me?

Who Should Enroll
This program is designed for high school or early college students who are interested in exploring a particular technology or are looking for an introduction to the emerging technologies that are shaping our future and nearly every discipline and job.

If you like computers, playing with sensors, creating useful new artifacts, iterating on your ideas to make them better, robotics, drones, programming, finding creative ways to employ technology, creating music, or playing with sounds, this program is for you!

What to Expect
Our team of UW faculty, graduate students, and professional staff will deliver a daily mix of interactive lectures, hands-on learning experiences, professional development training, and practical tutorials. You will also have the opportunity to learn about real technology projects happening at companies in the Seattle area from project teams at Microsoft, T-Mobile, Fetch, Kinova, Vulcan, and others.

  • Design + Fabrication and Robotics tracks will be offered in-person in our building in Bellevue, WA. Snacks and beverages will be provided. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we ask that you bring your own lunch or plan to purchase from one of the local delis or food truck within walking distance of the building. If Covid-19 restrictions in the state of Washington or at the University of Washington change, we will adopt these courses to be offered online and send you the supplies needed to participate.
  • IoT Devices (now closed) and Data Science Tools tracks will be offered remotely. Those who are local and interested will have an opportunity to visit our building in Bellevue, WA. But all of our activities will be fully remote, so if you’re not local or able to visit in person, you won’t miss out on the making fun!

The program will conclude with an interactive demo session and an opportunity to connect with your friends across tracks with a culminating design challenge.

Learn more about the tracks being offered.

Why Enroll

  • It will be fun! We are exploring creative applications of programming and info technology.
  • Boost your learning in a technical area if you are trying to get into a competitive program.​
  • Meet people! Interact with professionals, professors, and other students in a relaxed and fun way.
  • Gain real-life experience working in teams and learning how to manage a project.
  • Get a sneak peek into technical careers and university programs.
  • Learn about projects from Microsoft, T-Mobile, Vulcan, Fetch, Kinova​, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
  • Explore rapid prototyping and Maker technologies.

2021 Theme: Light, Motion, and Sound

This summer we will explore how cutting-edge technologies leverage the properties of light, motion, and sound. Each of our tracks will teach you the basics about a particular technology and how sensors help them respond to changes in light, movement, and different sounds. You will learn how these technologies work together as part of the final design challenge.

What You'll Gain

  • An understanding of Robotics, IoT devices, Design + Fabrication, or Data Science tools and how they are shaping our future.
  • Basic technical skills in Arduino, programming, and sensors, as well as deeper experience in your track.
  • Professional training in communications, design, and pitching your ideas (or yourself at a job interview).
  • A video you designed to highlight your work.
  • Connections or potential referrals for college or work from academia and industry.
  • Certificate of completion.
  • A collaborative learning experience with a diverse, international community that loves technology, too!

Track Options

Design + Fabrication Track (In-Person: Bellevue, WA)

  • What It's About

    Exploring the process of design and making a useful object in the Makerspace at the GIX Prototyping Labs. Participants will use the tools and technologies (as well as their hands and creativity!) in the Labs to make a lamp and a "sound machine."

  • Who Should Take It

    Anyone curious to explore a Makerspace, work with their hands, or learn about careers in design or product development would enjoy this course.

  • How to Prep

    No need to prepare anything ahead of time!

  • What You'll Learn

    • Understand and create simple circuit electronics.
    • Build prototypes and models of your ideas by hand using tools ranging from your hands to laser cutters to 3D printers.
    • Use simple sensors to gather data from the environment and directly output it through light, motion, and sound.
    • Understand and draw 2D and 3D representations by hand and in a digital environment.
    • Program a microcontroller to use sensed data from the environment to create complex reactions in light, motion, and sound.

  • Primary Instructor

    Nick Ames
    As the GIX Director of Instructional Fabrication, Nick Ames manages the Prototyping Labs, coordinates with faculty, and offers design and fabrication guidance to the students in the MSTI and Dual Degree program. Nick has nearly two decades of experience in design, fabrication, and shop management in industry and academic settings. He has a deep passion for advanced prototyping techniques and design mentorship. Trained as a puppeteer, studio artist, and architect, Nick brings a unique perspective on design development and prototyping to GIX.

Internet of Things Devices Track (Online)

  • What It's About

    Do you have an Alexa device? How about a Nest thermostat? Ever wonder how these devices work? Better yet, are you curious to find out how to make your own version? If so, then this course is for you! You'll learn how to use the Arduino plus sensors (for example, temperature, light, motors) to make your own smart device!

  • Who Should Take It

    • Anyone interested in learning more about smart phone technology, Arduino, or other technologies that use connected devices and sensors
    • Those who might like to work at the intersection of health and technology

  • How to Prep

    Those who are interested in preparing ahead of time might check out the following:
    Make: Sensors: A Hands-On Primer for Monitoring the Real World with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

  • What You'll Learn

    • Use sensors with the Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
    • Write software programs in Arduino.
    • Collect and visualize health & wellness data from sensors with the Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

  • Primary Instructor

    John Raiti
    Professor John Raiti's research has focused on human/robot interaction projects in which he designed, implemented, and tested web interfaces for a variety of robots; including NASA Robonaut (R2), NASA Valkyrie (R5), PR2, iRobot Create, AR.Drone, and LEGO Mindstorms. One of his collaborations with Planetary and Geological Sciences at Brown University involved studying how a robot could be used to assist astronauts in the detection of geologically relevant rock samples which could then be cored, cached, and sent brought back to Earth. Some of his robotics research for the physically disabled was included in a TED talk, entitled, “Meet the robots for humanity.” Prof. Raiti has worked at Applied Dexterity, a spinout of the BioRobotics lab at UW, and has developed human/robot interaction projects involving Applied Dexterity’s RAVEN and Cockpit robotic platforms. He designed, implemented, and conducted novel robot applications in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center to meet the scientific and research needs of NASA. He also has taught at the university level in various roles for over 15 years. Prof. Raiti also helps lead projects in robotics STEM outreach in Seattle, including mentoring the Ballard High School FIRST robotics team, Vikings 2928. He received a doctorate and master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University, where his doctoral thesis examined human and robotic navigation with degraded sensory information. John< also received a Master of Science degree in Neuroscience from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University.

Robotics (In-Person: Bellevue, WA)

  • What It's About

    Learning how robots work! Explore how to program a robot to navigate a maze and perform dance moves to music.

  • Who Should Take It

    • It will be helpful to have a basic knowledge of Linux commands, Python, and/or C++. Knowledge of ROS is also useful (we will use ROS Melodic Morenia LTS distribution). But there are no prerequisites!

  • How to Prep

    Those who are interested in preparing ahead of time might check out the following:
    Programming Robots with ROS by Quigley et al.
    YouTube playlist
    ROS Wiki.

  • What You'll Learn

    • Robot navigation: use sensors and lasers to gather information about the space to create maps and navigate to different locations in it.
    • Use navigation skills to develop and program specific motions and behaviors.

  • Primary Instructor

    Maru Cabrera
    Dr. Maria Eugenia (“Maru”) Cabrera is a postdoctoral research associate in Computer Science & Engineering at the UW, working with professor Maya Cakmak in the Human-Centered Robotics Lab. She completed her Ph.D. from Purdue University under the supervision of Professor Juan Wachs. Her research interests include human/robot interaction (HRI) and multimodal interactions based on embodiment, including gestures. More specifically, she wishes to conduct research in naturalistic and novel approaches to include cognitive and physiological aspects of human performance in collaborative tasks with other robots or other humans, either co-located or remotely.

Data Science Tools (Online)

  • What It's About

    Using neural networks for machine-generated images and music. Don’t know what neural networks are? No problem! You'll learn.

  • Who Should Take It

    Anyone who enjoyed AB Calculus or wondered how it could be useful in the real world. Anyone who has taken an Intro to Programming course or is considering a career that might require programming. You will learn how to create music and images using math!

  • How to Prep

    Those who are interested in preparing ahead of time might check out the following:
    The Python Data Science Handbook

  • What You'll Learn

    • How to work with data.
    • How to generate multi-media with neural networks and other learning algorithms.

  • Primary Instructor

    Wesley Beckner
    Dr. Wesley Beckner is a GIX faculty member, an instructor for the UW MS in Technology Innovation, a Data Science Advisor for the Pfaendtner Research Group, and partner at MFG Analytic, where he works with manufacturing clients to optimize their production processes using cloud-based tools. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering Data Science from the UW and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His consulting work inspired him to help organizations streamline their workflows and increase profit margins by training in-house employees to better understand and use data. In this course series, he distills his knowledge as a chemical engineering data scientist to the most salient, practical information applicable to the practicing engineer.

Schedule + Format

The following is general representative schedule for the first three weeks of the program. The final week will be adjusted as students work on a culminating design challenge that integrates all four tracks and the theme of light, music, and sound. A detailed agenda will be sent to participants prior to the start of class.


2021 Registration Details + Cost

  • July 12 – August 5, 2021 (4 weeks)
  • Classes meet daily Monday – Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. with a short break for lunch.
  • Early bird registration closes May 23. Regular registration closes July 9.
  • Regular Fee: $2,500 // Early Bird Fee: $1,975 // Deposit: A non-refundable $250 deposit is due upon registration to reserve your spot. Submit your payment using the link in your confirmation email. // Balance: The balance is due before the start of the program.
  • Cancellation + Refunds: Deposit is non-refundable, except in the case of organizer-initiated changes in schedule or offering type. All tracks will be offered online should changes in local Covid-19 policies change prior to the start of the course. The Global Innovation Exchange follows the University of Washington guidance and strict health and safety provisions in its facility and labs.
  • Snacks, beverages, and course supplies provided for both the in-person options and the remote options (by mail; please provide a mailing address when you register). Lunch for in-person tracks may be brought from home or is available for purchase during supervised trips to local food trucks and deli.
  • Free daily parking for all participants is available in the attached parking garage.

Come back later to learn more about future Tech Exploration offerings!


Please contact us at or 206.897.9004.