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Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen clothing with built-in lights? This might sound like something out of a science-fiction movie, but electronic textiles (or e-textiles for short) really exist. Instead of using hard surfaces for circuits (like what goes inside your computer or cell phone), e-textiles weave electrical parts like batteries, wires, and lights directly into clothing that you can wear to make the clothing do fun, interesting things like light up, respond to sound, or even serve medical purposes… Read more
Elec_p077
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires special electronic components designed for use with e-textiles. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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.
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
Project Idea
Have you ever wondered about the various types of music in a video game you've played? You may not have paid much attention to the music, but its job was to enhance your gaming experience. In fact, the wrong kind of music can detract from the atmosphere of the game. Can you imagine the music in Mario KartTM playing in Street Fighter®? In a game, music can indicate many different things, such as a special or new event, shift of mood, or the arrival of a character. This kind of music is… Read more
Games_p030
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
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 A singing monkey? An elderly couple doing the chicken dance? What kind of funny electronic cards do you like to email people? Feel free to dream up your coolest and funniest card ideas, because in this science project, you'll create your own animated greeting card with a simple-to-use programming language called Scratch. Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create interactive stories, games, music, and art. When the program you have written is complete, you can even share it… Read more
CompSci_p038
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should have access to a computer with the Internet and room for the Scratch program. Scratch can be downloaded for either Windows (2000 or later) or Mac (OSX 10.4 or later).
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Psychologists have long studied why people find certain faces more attractive than others. One interesting method used in this area of research is mixing several faces together to make a composite face. The composite face averages the input faces, so that small, non-symmetric features tend to get lost. In this human behavior science project, you will use an online tool to make composite faces, and determine how they compare to real faces in perceived attractiveness. Read more
HumBeh_p055
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This science project involves making a set of pages containing images (faces) that have been downloaded from the Internet. Access to Microsoft® Word or similar word processing software is required. You will be making copies of and handing out your figures to your test subjects.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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
Project Idea
thumbnail 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 below: … 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
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
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