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Project Idea
thumbnail 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
Project Idea
Have you ever played a video game and gotten so involved that you felt as if you were living inside the game? What were the characteristics of the game that made you feel part of the action? One component of an absorbing video game is an onscreen world that makes sense—a world that takes physics into account. A game in which the player feels the effect of trudging through mud, slipping on ice, or catapulting a bird is more fun than one with no environmental interaction. In this… Read more
Games_p031
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites You should be comfortable programming in C++ language, familiar with the GameMaker software package, and able to program in GameMaker Language (GML). You should completely review and understand all the GameMaker tutorials and examples listed in the Science Buddies GameMaker User Guide and in the Tutorials section of YoYo Games Wiki.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Strike a key on the piano, and you hear the string vibrating. Just about any object vibrates when it's knocked, but how much and how fast? What properties of the material affect the way it vibrates? This project helps you find out. You'll build a simple light-sensing circuit for measuring the frequency of vibrating springs. Read more
ApMech_p015
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Windows/PC
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
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.
Project Idea
thumbnail What keeps a submarine from spinning out of control? In this science project, you can investigate how submarines use stabilizing fins to move forward. You might even figure out the secrets to maneuvering a submarine! Read more
Aero_p035
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Have an adult help you when using the razor blade or knife, as well as the drill. Always wear safety goggles when working with power tools. If you are performing the experiment in a pool, be sure to have an adult with you at all times.
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen butterflies fluttering around outside, gliding through the air and landing on flowers? While they are delicate and fragile, butterflies are actually excellent flyers. They are so good, in fact, that scientists at Harvard University studied butterfly wing shapes as an inspiration for building a miniature flying robot. In this science project, you will do your own version of the Harvard scientists' experiment to measure the flight performance of butterfly wings. Read more
Aero_p049
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail 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.
Project Idea
thumbnail In physics class, you have probably rolled your eyes at some point after being assigned a "projectile motion" homework problem where you use equations to predict how a ball will move through the air. This experiment will show you just how fun that problem can be by using a real catapult to launch a ball and videotaping it as it flies along its path. Then, you will analyze the video and compare it to what the equations predicted. If you have ever wondered if those equations in your physics… Read more
Phys_p089
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This project requires a basic understanding of algebra, trigonometry (sine and cosine functions), and physics (kinematics—two-dimensional projectile motion), or the willingness to learn about these subjects on your own.
Material Availability This project requires access to a video camera (not included in the cost estimate) and the purchase of a catapult kit. (See the Materials and Equipment list for details.)
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Minor injury possible. Never aim the catapult at anyone, and keep your hands and fingers clear of the moving catapult arm when launching the catapult.
Project Idea
thumbnail Are you an artist, or do you enjoy the process of making art? What kind of art do you create? Do only humans make art? Not all the time. Robots can create art, too. Robots can be programmed and "taught" to do all kinds of things, such as delivering medications to hospital patients or putting together a car on an assembly line. The Vangobot™, shown in the video below, paints pictures with brushes and paint, and in a distinct, unique style - just like a human artist. Watch… Read more
Robotics_p007
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Programming experience is needed to do this project.
Material Availability

This robotics engineering project requires that you purchase VEX® robotics materials. See the Materials tab for a suggestion of some VEX® parts to use. With a little problem-solving, you may be able to substitute another robotics platform.

The RobotC software needed to program the VEX system is Windows based. If you are using an Apple computer you will need to use visualization software such as VirtualBox or VMware®.

Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Use caution with tools when assembling the robot. Minor injury is possible.
Project Idea
thumbnail Landslides are powerful geological events that happen suddenly, causing fear in people who live in areas with unstable hills, slopes, and cliff sides. Landslides damage the surrounding habitat and can destroy homes in their path. But what causes landslides? Can slides happen on any slope, or do slopes have to have certain characteristics, such as a steep angle and a specific material mass? In this geology science project, you will learn about the different types of landslides and the… Read more
EnvEng_p035
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues.
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