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Sorin Achim is a master of robotics. After gaining a degree in electrical engineering from the Romanian Department of Defense, he served as a robotics research engineer at Carnegie Mellon University and received the Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence for his contributions to the design of mobile robots.

With these accomplishments in hand, Achim founded Instant Robotics with one mission?"to translate robotics language into plain English." He teaches adults how to implement robotics into a variety of fields ranging from industry to the military. His advice touches on using medical automated systems in health care, blending robots with artistic media, preventing the robots from taking control, and engaging with robotics as a teaching tool in schools.

For a more hands-on environment, Instant Robotics' summer camps bring advanced technologies to children. In one-week sessions, students can build their own robots, create their own animated films using Legos, print three-dimensional objects, design a video game, or develop a mobile app. The camps conclude with a mini movie festival or a robotic battle for the last can of WD-40.

801 N Negley Ave
Pittsburgh,
PA
US

The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts acts as both the patron and the glittering stage for the local arts community, raising awareness of Pittsburgh's visionaries-in-residence with a host of educational programs and exhibitions. Its members scamper freely through galleries stuffed with canvases and sculptures by local artists such as Brian Dean Richmond and Gregory Witt. Prospective Picassos and vicarious Velazquezes, meanwhile, can pour their inner outsider artist into bright and bold Plexiglass prints, hand-hammered metal jewelry, and subtle Chinese brush paintings during a day of three hour-long studio sessions at an Arts Crash Course. If you're still suffering from excess inspiration afterward, burn off the rest before it curdles into images of poker-playing dogs with a $25 member discount to sign up for ongoing classes in watercolor painting, ceramics, and other crafts. Admission to the galleries at local cinema and media center Pittsburgh Filmmakers is also included with your membership benefits, as well as a 10% discount on colorful blown glass vases and funky jewelry in the gift shop and assorted discounts on art supplies at three area stores.

1047 Shady Ave
Pittsburgh,
PA
US

The Range

Instructors train students at Chippewa's Beaver Valley Rifle and Pistol Club, which encompasses a 50-yard indoor pistol and rifle range as well as outdoor facilities, including a 200-yard rifle range.

The Rentals

Visitors may use their own firearms; instructors can also supply select firearms rentals such as shotguns.

At a Glance

When he worked as an educator for the Afghanistan Border Police, John A. Brown trained more than 5,000 people in the proper use of various weapons. Today, he puts his knowledge to use stateside, serving as the owner and lead instructor for 3 Rivers Tactical Training Solutions, Inc. Along with fellow instructor Matt Breen?a retired law enforcement officer and SWAT operator?Mr. Brown leads courses for handguns, shotguns, and rifles.

400 North Lexington Street
Pittsburgh,
PA
US

Three Rivers Fencing Center’s head coach Iana Dakova, a national champion fencer, and her foil-wielding staff enable deft swordplay during Wednesday-evening fencing lessons. Coaches outfit fencers in modern safety gear before covering basic footwork and blade work, such as parries, ripostes, and using sabers to skewer fresh vegetables. En garde students reap the additional benefit of included instruction in the noble history, safety rules, and health benefits of fencing. In the event of classes reaching capacity, alternates should check back often for additional classes and advice on how to appear more swashbuckling.

7501 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh,
PA
US

Whether for aesthetic reasons or to preserve and protect the paint, most car owners know they need to keep their ride clean. Yet, the lifeline of the car?the engine?doesn?t always receive that same respect. As dirt and mud cake onto it, combustion fails to escape and the car can easily overheat. That?s where an autopsy at Auto Asylum Car Care Center can, ironically, save a vehicle's life. The team begins with a comprehensive interior and exterior detail?complete with a clay-bar treatment, buff, and interior shampoo?before popping open the hood and treating the engine to a full degreasing and dressing.

Though the Autopsy treatment is Auto Asylum Car Care Center?s most comprehensive service, the team doesn?t turn its collective cheek on swifter arrangements. They dole out seven other packages, from a basic exterior wash to a Crazy Clean full detail that not only washes rides, but also puts unruly carpoolers in straightjackets.

8007 Frankstown Ave
Pittsburgh,
PA
US

Retiring as the Executive Director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit after spending more than 40 years in education, Dr. Joseph Lagana couldn't resign himself to just wile away his new excess of free time. With firsthand knowledge of the effects of homelessness on the region's schools, Joe funneled his passion and efforts into creating the Homeless Children?s Education Fund, a nonprofit committed to the advocacy, education, and direct assistance of children experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County. Since its beginning as a humble learning center?just three computers in a closet?Homeless Children?s Education Fund has grown to include 11 facilities where children and their parents can access the Internet as well as find much-needed support through emergency shelters and transitional housing.

2100 Smallman St
Pittsburgh,
PA
US