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Robotics Project Ideas

Science Fair Project Idea
What do an octopus, an elephant's trunk, and an earthworm have in common? They are all squishy, bendable and flexible because they do not have any bones inside. You might not typically think of robots as "squishy," but scientists are increasingly trying to create soft robots that look and move like animals. In this project you will use a "soft robot simulator" to design and race your own squishy robots. Can you come up with the fastest design? 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
Science Fair Project Idea
In our , we provided you with a template file that included default material properties and physics simulation settings. These settings include friction, gravity, and temperature — all of which can drastically change how fast your robots move. However, we did not explain what exactly all these physics simulation settings meant, or how to change them. You can access the physics settings through the Physics Settings tab after entering the Physics Sandbox mode, as shown in Figure 1: … Read more
Robotics_p019
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with VoxCAD software. We recommend completing our [# 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
Have you ever tried to ride your bike up a flight of stairs? Vehicles with wheels are great at traveling on paved roads or flat ground, but when it comes to stairs or uneven ground in the woods, wheels are not always such a great option. Inspired by real-life all-terrain robots, in this engineering project you will design and build a LEGO® robot that can travel over bumpy ground, through your yard, or even up a stack of textbooks — and almost anything else you can think of! Read more
Robotics_p009
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Experience building with LEGO® and programming for LEGO® Mindstorms® is required for this project.
Material Availability This project requires a LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT kit and compatible programming software. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever walked a dog on a leash? Depending on how well-behaved the dog is, it can be very easy or very difficult. It would be great if you could tell your dog exactly how to behave, right? With that in mind, in this project you will build a robotic dog using a LEGO® Mindstorms® kit that you can teach to "walk" using the beam from a flashlight as a virtual leash. But your robot dog will not know how to walk on a leash on its own — you will have to "train" it, just as you… Read more
Robotics_p011
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Experience building with LEGO pieces and programming with LEGO Mindstorms is required for this project.
Material Availability This project requires a LEGO Mindstorms kit and compatible programming software. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety No issues.
Science Fair Project Idea
You have secret treasure that you need to keep safe from thieves. How do you keep guard 24 hours a day without skipping school and the rest of your important activities? You build a guard robot and have it do the hard work! You can build a guard robot using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® set and the instructions in this project to guide your efforts. And do not worry: your secret is safe with your robot. Read more
Robotics_p004
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This project requires a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT 2.0 kit and a computer. See the Materials tab for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever seen a cat chase a laser pointer or a flashlight beam? What if you could make a robot do that? In this project, you will build a robot that can automatically drive toward a bright light source. The robot uses a simple electronic circuit to track light, so there is no computer programming required! You can also do three other robotics projects using the same kit of parts, so this is a great way to get started with robotics before moving on to more advanced projects. Read more
Robotics_p022
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You will need to know how to use a breadboard to do this project. See the Science Buddies reference [# ProjectGuide Name="Breadboard.Tutorial" Value="HtmlAnchor" #] if you have not used a breadboard before.
Material Availability A kit is available in the .
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Short circuits can get very hot and present a burn hazard. Be careful to follow the directions in the Procedure in order to avoid short circuits when building your robot.
Science Fair Project Idea
In our , you were challenged to use the VoxCAD software to design the fastest possible robot using different materials. However, we did not ask you to think about one big thing — efficiency. It is great to design a robot that is very fast, but what if it also consumes a lot of energy? Engineers must consider this when designing robots in the real world — robots that use more energy to move will drain their batteries faster, which can be a problem. This is similar to the concept of… Read more
Robotics_p017
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with VoxCAD software — we recommend completing our [# ProjectIdea Name="Robotics_p016" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="introductory VoxCAD project" #] first. Basic knowledge of the concepts of energy consumption and power, or a willingness to learn them.
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
In the mid-20th century, people thought of robots as futuristic tools. But in the 21st century, robots are not a figment of our imaginations, but are a part of our reality. Robots even perform tasks that humans can't do. In this engineering science fair project, you will use LEGO Mindstorms to build a robot that is fast, lightweight, and stable. Who knows? You might end up building a robot that does housework or even your homework! Read more
Elec_p052
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Experience with LEGO Mindstorms is useful but not required.
Material Availability This project requires a LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit and compatible programming software. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
A simple circuit and a servo motor are all you need to turn any work of art into an interactive moving creation that is happy to see you. Light sensors see your shadow as you walk past your artwork and make a servo motor move back and forth. Waving arms? Turning heads? It is all up to you! Read more
Robotics_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Depending on the crafting you do for your sculpture, the project may require craft knives or other items that should be used carefully and with supervision, as needed.
Science Fair Project Idea
When you think about robots, chances are they are contraptions that you have seen on TV, in movies, or even in real life — and they are usually made of metal. What if you could make a soft robot that could bend, twist, or squirm like an octopus or an earthworm? Researchers at Harvard University have done exactly that, developing soft robots made of rubber and powered by air instead of electricity. In this project you will use their designs to build a soft robotic gripper of your own. Read more
Robotics_p020
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This project requires some specialty materials. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Note: "Time required" includes shipping for specialty materials. The experiment itself can be done in 1-2 days.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Prolonged exposure to the silicone rubber used in this project can cause mild skin irritation. Disposable gloves are required for this project. Using a toaster oven (optional) requires adult supervision.
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