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Robotics Project Ideas

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wanted to build your very own robot from scratch? Bristlebots are a cheap, easy, and fun-to-build robot made from the head of a toothbrush, a battery, and a small motor. Once completed, they buzz along the top of a table like bugs. How can you make a bristlebot go faster? In this project, you will build bristlebots from two different types of toothbrushes, and race them against each other to find out. Read more
Robotics_p010
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Motors and batteries to do this project are available in a kit from Science Buddies. The kit can also be used to do several other robotics projects. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Estimated project time includes time to ship the kit.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is required when cutting the head off a toothbrush.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Do you like drawing or painting? What if you could build a robot friend that creates its own art? In this project you will create your own Art Bot, a robot with markers for "legs" that wobbles across a piece of paper, creating drawings as it moves. You can then customize your robot to change how it draws. This is a beginner-level project with no robotics experience necessary, so if you have wanted to try building your own robot, this is a great place to start! Read more
Robotics_p014
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This project requires specialty robotics parts. A Science Buddies kit is available (project time includes shipping for the kit). See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is required when using a hobby knife.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever heard of the NASA Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity? How about the "bomb squad" robots that police and the military use? These are places that are hard for us to reach (Mars), or dangerous for us to be near (explosives). Because the human operators are usually far away from the robot, driving one is different from driving a car. Operators rely on information sent back from the robot, including pictures and video. In this project, you will build your own simple… Read more
Robotics_p015
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This project requires a radio-controlled toy car and a wireless video camera. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail The world's oceans are home to the most strange and amazing creatures. What do scientists know about these deep-sea animals and how can they study them easily? One way to learn about these animals in their homes is to use underwater robots. Underwater robots can record data that would be difficult for humans to gather. But what are robots and how are they made? In this robotics engineering project, you will discover what makes up a simple robot and build and test your own underwater robot. Read more
Robotics_p002
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability To build an underwater robot you will need a motor and a model boat propeller. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety You will need glue and epoxy to waterproof the motor for the robot. Follow the instructions that come with the glue and epoxy and always work in a well-ventilated area. If you have a latex allergy, you will have to exercise great caution with the balloon and ask a volunteer to help you. Keep fingers away from the spinning propeller to prevent injury. Do not test the robot in saltwater.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail "How do you frighten a grasshopper? And what does that have to do with light?" These are a couple of questions you're probably asking yourself after reading the title. Well, The Frightened Grasshopper Solar-Powered Bug is actually a toy grasshopper that vibrates when it is placed in sunlight or near a lightbulb. It stores up the energy from light, and converts it into motion. You will use this fun toy to explore how the brightness of the light affects the motion of the solar-powered insect. Read more
Elec_p061
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability The Frightened Grasshopper toy needs to be ordered from online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is required. The lightbulbs will be hot, so use caution to avoid getting burned by the bulbs. The Frightened Grasshopper toy should be assembled with the help of an adult since it is fragile and has some small parts.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Imagine how cool it would be to build a robot hand that could grasp a ball or pick up a toy. In this robotics engineering project, you will learn how to use drinking straws, sewing thread, and a little glue to make a remarkably lifelike and useful robot hand. What will you design your robot hand to do? Pick up a can? Move around a ping pong ball? It is up to you! With these starting instructions, you can design any type of hand. You will simulate human finger anatomy as the basis for a… Read more
Robotics_p001
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is suggested for parts of this project. Use caution with sharp knives and glue.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Robots come in many shapes and sizes. From the Mars Rovers to toy dinosaurs, robots are well-planned machines designed to suit their individual purposes. In this science project, you will test different robot designs with an online simulator made up of dots and lines, much like bendable soda straws. How will each robot design respond to changes in their conditions? Read more
ApMech_p020
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites You need to work on a computer on which you are allowed to download a new program. Check with the owner of the computer before you proceed.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail What do you consider creepy? Clowns? Zombies? Video game characters with jerky movement? In 1970, a roboticist by the name of Masahiro Mori suggested that people are "creeped out" by robots that are almost, but not exactly, humanlike. He called this phenomena the uncanny valley. But researchers are still exploring and defining the uncanny valley. In this science project, you can do your own exploration—just try not to creep your friends out too badly! Read more
HumBeh_p056
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you have seen any of the "Star Wars" movies, then you probably remember when Jedi knights like Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi used "The Force" to push, pull, and even throw objects — including some helpless battle droids. Have you ever wished you could do that in real life? In this robotics project, you will build and program a LEGO® robot that you can push and pull using an "invisible force" — almost like a real Jedi! We make no promise that you will be taking down the… Read more
Robotics_p013
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should know how to build a basic car with a LEGO Mindstorms kit, and also be familiar with basic programming in the Mindstorms software (NXT-G or EV3).
Material Availability This project requires a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or NXT kit, and a computer with the appropriate programming software. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety No issues.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you ever rode in a cable car, ski lift, or gondola, you know they make moving over obstacles like lakes, valleys, rivers, or even up steep mountains seem easy. Though it would be pretty difficult to build a full-size cable car in your home, if you have a Mindstorms® kit, you can build a working-model cable car of your own. The engineering challenge is to build a LEGO® cable car that can travel across a string you have suspended somewhere in your house (between two pieces of… Read more
Robotics_p008
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with programming for LEGO Mindstorms to do this project.
Material Availability This project requires a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit (available from [# Link Name="Amazon.EV3" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]) or a LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Make sure your cable car string is securely attached to a heavy object (like a table or large chair) at both ends. The Mindstorms bricks are heavy, and could fall and damage your LEGOs or other objects if the string is not securely attached.
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