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Others Like “Grasping with Straws: Make a Robot Hand Using Drinking Straws”

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Following a simple black line seems pretty easy, right? But think about it; how do you know what is the line and what is not the line? What if you wanted a robot to follow that line? How would it know what you wanted it to follow? Robots can use simple techniques to sense their surroundings and change their behavior based on what they see. In this engineering project, you will build your own robot that will follow a path without using complicated electronics or programming. Read more
Robotics_p021
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with, or be willing to learn how to wire circuits on a breadboard. A little soldering is necessary to complete this science project, so you should also be familiar with the procedure or be able to find a helpful friend or adult.
Material Availability Readily available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety If you are using the coping saw to make the wheels, use caution and be sure to wear safety goggles. Some steps require soldering, which involves very high temperatures. Use caution when soldering and when using other building tools. An optional step involves a product that must used in an open area, following the manufacturer's directions.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered how a radio can grab signals that are transmitted through the air and convert them into sound? In this science project, you will build your own AM radio receiver from scratch and use it to listen to AM radio broadcasts. With your crystal radio you will be able to experiment with the circuit and the antenna to get the best reception. Read more
Elec_p014
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites To do this science project, you must live in an area where you can receive at least one strong AM radio station. You can check for this with a car or portable radio.
Material Availability Specific circuit items are required. A Science Buddies kit is available for your convenience. See the Materials and Equipment list for details
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Never operate your crystal radio during a thunderstorm. When not in use, always disconnect your antenna from the radio circuit, and connect it directly to the ground rod. Be sure to wear safety goggles when installing the ground rod, especially if you are using a metal hammer. An adult's help might be necessary for some steps in the Procedure.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever broken a fishing rod? Or seen a treetop bend over and touch the ground (or even snap off) during an ice storm? These are examples of the effect of bending stresses on flexible rods. There are scientists who actually study this phenomenon and discover ways to prevent breakage, which leads to stronger fishing rods, building materials, car parts, and more. In this science project, you'll explore the bending stresses in flexible rods by testing asparagus stalks. Read more
ApMech_p038
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
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 How can seawater from the oceans be turned into fresh water that is suitable for people to drink? Through a process called solar desalination! In this science project, you will make a solar desalination apparatus using readily available materials, and a power source that is free. How much water can the device produce, and is it still salty at all? What factors affect how effectively saltwater is turned into fresh water? Read more
EnvEng_p022
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Some specialty items needed, see Materials list for details. For your convenience a Science Buddies Kit is available for purchase.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety A hand drill is needed for some steps. Adult assistance is needed for the steps involving a hand drill. All items in the Science Buddies Kit come pre-drilled, eliminating this safety issue.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Imagine how cool it would be to have your own motorized robot hand. Well, stop imagining and turn that daydream into reality! Start out by designing and building a robot hand. The Science Buddies project shows you a simple way to make a robot hand with drinking straws, or you can design a robot hand from any other materials you think are suitable. Your hand design will need sewing threads, or some other mechanism, for motors to act on and move, causing the fingers to flex. See Figure 1… Read more
Robotics_p003
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Once the hand is assembled, adding the servo motors, connecting the microprocessor, and writing the code for the microprocessor will require familiarity with a hobbyist microprocessor board (like ones using [# ProjectGuide Name="ProjectGuide.Robotics.Arduino" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Arduino" #]TM, PIC®, or similar). The student should be comfortable with connecting, programming, and testing projects on these boards.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Adult supervision is suggested for parts of this project. Use caution with sharp knives, glue, and soldering. Low voltage (from a battery or power supply) is involved.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Alternative energy sources are a big deal these days. One such source is the wind. Find out how a wind turbine can use the power of the wind to generate energy in this science fair engineering project. You'll design various blades to find out which produces the most energy, and put the wind to work for you! Read more
Aero_p040
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Use caution when using the drill. Always wear safety goggles when working with power tools. Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail When your parents were kids, they probably wore polyester. Static cling was a major household issue! Now everybody wears cotton, which does not get static cling nearly as much. Why are some materials more susceptible to static cling than others? Investigate how well different materials produce static electricity by making a homemade electroscope and testing it out in this science project. Read more
Elec_p023
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety When working with electricity, take precautions and beware of electric shock.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever been annoyed by poor Wi-Fi reception for your phone, tablet, or laptop? Do you wish there was something you could do about it? In this project you will learn how to build a parabolic reflector that you can attach to the antenna of a regular wireless router to help boost its signal. Read more
CompSci_p010
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This project requires a Wi-Fi router and a smartphone, tablet, or laptop with a Wi-Fi connection. You will also need access to a printer to print the parabolic template. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Did you know that when you dip your finger in water and pull it out, the water is actually pulling back on you? Here's a way you can measure how much. Read more
Phys_p012
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites Basic physics: understanding of the concept of a force
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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