At Haywood Community College’s Regional High Technology Center, students created a Christmas tree like no other. It’s a high tech Christmas tree along with Eight Tinny Reindeer. All the programs in the Advanced Technology Department joined together to make decorations for this unique tree while using LED energy efficient lights. At close inspection, you will see everything from roofing tacks cleverly strung as garland to intricately machined ornaments and stars cut from wood.

The Eight Tinny Reindeer are complements of students in the Electronic Engineering program. As part of an assignment, the students built Santa driving a sled led by a reindeer. Using Lego building blocks to construct the bodies, students also programmed the ‘robots’ to detect when someone is within two feet. Then the reindeer and Santa move the sleigh. All this required the students to learn high levels of programming.

“While it seems very simple, it is really a complex example of programming,” explains Electronic Engineering student Robert Staggs. “We learned several aspects of robotics to complete this. We used a combination of sensors, timers, and moving parts to get the end result.”

Staggs has 30 years of electrical work under his belt but decided to come back to school to learn how to incorporate computers into his work. “All of this is computer based now. It’s been a long time since I was in school. I almost had to come back to school to learn this.”  

Associate programs in HCC’s Advanced Technologies Department include Automotive Systems Technology, Building Construction Technology-Green Building, Collision Repair and Refinishing, Computer Integrated Machining, Electrical/Electronics Technology, Electronic Engineering Technology, Industrial Systems Technology, and Welding Technology. Several other diplomas and certificates are available. For more information about these programs, please call 627-4631.

 5. The Eight Tinny Reindeer were built Electronic Engineering students using robotics and high levels of programming.