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Robotics Project Ideas

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 Have you ever seen moths buzzing around bright lights at night? What about animals that always crawl into dark places, under rocks or furniture? This type of behavior is called phototaxis — movement toward (or away from) a light source. In this project you will build your own biologically inspired robot critter that mimics this behavior. Basing your design on the popular and simple BristleBot robot, you will make a robot with two light sensors for "eyes" and two motors that help it steer… Read more
Robotics_p012
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some familiarity with electronic circuits and using breadboards will be very helpful, though not required, for this project. Using a soldering iron is also helpful but a work-around is offered in the Procedure.
Material Availability This project requires certain parts from an electronics store or online retailer. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety If you use a soldering iron for this project remember that soldering irons get extremely hot and can cause burns if they touch your skin. They can also become a fire hazard if left unattended. Science Buddies recommends using lead-free solder, especially in homes with pets or small children.
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.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Science Buddies has several fun robotics projects, like the and , where you use arts and crafts materials, like plastic cups or foam board to make the body of a robot. Have you ever wanted to design a more-advanced, sturdier, or fancier looking robot? Then computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing might be for you; both are simpler than you think! The directions on this page will give you an introduction to these technologies so you can design and print your own robot. Figure 1, below,… Read more
Robotics_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In our , we provided a template with four materials: two active materials that expand and contract in the physics sandbox mode, and two passive materials — one hard and one soft. The project mentioned material properties, but it did not go into much detail — you just used the default settings from the template. Changing the material properties can drastically change how your robots behave. Engineers must take material properties into account when designing robots and other machines.… Read more
Robotics_p018
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with VoxCAD software is required for this project. We recommend completing the Science Buddies [# ProjectIdea Name="Robotics_p016" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="introductory VoxCAD project" #] first.
Material Availability This project requires the free VoxCAD software, and a computer running Microsoft® Windows®.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Are you artistic? Do you enjoy creating art? Some may think that art is something only humans can make, but what about robots: can they be artistic? They can if you build them that way. In this robotics engineering project, you will build a robot that creates art. And who knows? Someday your robot art may be worth millions! Read more
Robotics_p005
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This robotics engineering project requires you to purchase VEX® robotics materials. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. With a little problem-solving, you may be able to substitute another robotics platform.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Use caution with tools when assembling the robot. Minor injury is possible.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever had several different design ideas for a project and not known which one to try first? Engineers use computer models of real-world objects called simulations to help them make decisions before they start building prototypes. This helps them save time and money, so they do not have to physically build and test each design they come up with. In this project, you will use a free physics simulation program called VoxCAD. VoxCAD has been used for research at NASA, MIT, and other… Read more
Robotics_p016
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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