Monday, April 2, 2012

Middle School Robotics Project-Chapter Sixth and Final

The class sessions are done.  We have a day coming up where we will drive the robot around all three lunches at the Middle School.  The robot still does not have a name....various monikers were proposed but none sounded right.

It is designed to navigate slowly between tables crowded with pre-teens addled by hormones, spring  weather and carbohydrates.  It nudges up, pivots at the waist and then flexes arms that will either deliver a spray of M & Ms scattered across the table top....or a spritz of water that can shoot out a good 15 feet.

A good bunch of students.  I have a policy of not showing kids faces, but there are ways around almost all problems.....

What are the odds that all the kids would be named Wilson?  I like the kid hiding behind the strobe light, but the two using bags of M & Ms for annonymity were pretty clever too.

Following are a few video clips.  The robot is much more capable than the cameraman.
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This shows the ever popular squirt gun feature. 

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 Here is the robot at hallway speeds. 

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This is the M & M dispenser.
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This shows the pivot mechanism and a few M & Ms hitting the table.

A fun project all in all.  I hope that "show time" goes off without a hitch, but I do not actually expect it to.  There is always some loose wire, some poorly attached connector, some battery that does not have as much power as expected.  Really I find troubleshooting to be the most valuable skill learned from this sort of junkbot engineering.

For instance I told the kids that there were at least five ways that the control units could lose radio signal, and asked them to list them.

Darned if they didn't get all five.

As I said, a good bunch of students.  And as a final message I had them all stop jabbering for 15 seconds while I imparted to them the Secret of Success in this here world:

"Always show up with batteries fully charged."

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