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Others Like “Should My Robot be More or Less Squishy?”

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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 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
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
Do you like playing with squishy play dough or modeling clay? Wouldn't it be cool if you could add lights, sound, or even motion to your play dough creations? In this science project, you will make play dough that conducts electricity, which will allow you to connect lights, motors, and buzzers! This science project is the first in a three-part series on "squishy circuits," which can all be done with the same materials. We recommend doing the science projects in order. Read more
Elec_p073
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires a Squishy Circuits Kit and ingredients to make conductive and insulating play dough. See the Materials and Equipment list for details
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Ask for an adult's help when using the stove to make the conductive play dough. Never connect the battery pack's terminals directly to each other; this is called a short circuit and can make the batteries and wires get very hot. Do not connect the LEDs directly to the battery pack without using play dough; this will burn out the LEDs.
Science Fair Project Idea
Do you like making things with play dough or modeling clay? Wouldn't it be cool if you could add a bunch of lights to your creations? In this science project, you will make play dough that conducts electricity, and we will introduce you to some new types of circuits so you can add more lights to your artistic creations. This science project is the second in a three-part series on "squishy circuits," which can all be done with the same materials. We recommend doing the science projects in order. Read more
Elec_p074
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should understand the Introduction material in [# ProjectIdea Name="Elec_p073" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Make Your Play Dough Light Up, Buzz, & Move!" #]—the first science project in the "Electric Play Dough" series—before doing this science project.
Material Availability This science project requires a Squishy Circuits Kit and ingredients to make conductive and insulating play dough. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Ask for an adult's help when using the stove to make the conductive play dough. Never connect the battery pack's terminals directly to each other; this is called a short circuit and can make the batteries and wires get very hot. Do not connect the LEDs directly to the battery pack without using play dough; this will burn out the LEDs.
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.
Science Fair Project Idea
Do you enjoy sculpting animals and other three-dimensional creations with play dough and modeling clay? Imagine adding lights to a house you've built, or glowing eyes on a dinosaur you've created. There are countless possibilities! In this science project, you will make play dough that conducts electricity so you can add lights to your three-dimensional creations. This science project is the third in a three-part series on squishy circuits, which can all be done with the same materials. We… Read more
Elec_p075
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This science project requires understanding the Introduction material in the first two "Electric Play Dough" science projects: [# ProjectIdea Name="Elec_p073" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Make Your Play Dough Light Up, Buzz, & Move!" #] and [# ProjectIdea Name="Elec_p074" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Rig Your Creations with Lots of Lights!" #]
Material Availability This science project requires a Squishy Circuits Kit and ingredients to make conductive and insulating play dough. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Ask for an adult's help when using the stove to make the conductive play dough. Never connect the battery pack's terminals directly to each other; this is called a short circuit and can make the batteries and wires get very hot. Do not connect the LEDs directly to the battery pack without using play dough; this will burn out the LEDs.
Science Fair Project Idea
Here's a sports science project that shows you how to use correlation analysis to choose the best batting statistic for predicting run-scoring ability. You'll learn how to use a spreadsheet to measure correlations between two variables. Read more
Sports_p003
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites To do this project you must be comfortable using a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel®, or be willing to learn how to use one.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Whoopee! No matter what age, who doesn't like flying down the slides at parks and pools? In this experiment, you might be surprised what you can learn about the fascinating forces of friction while sliding down (or sticking to) those fun, slippery slopes. Caution: only speed demons need apply for this activity . . . Read more
ApMech_p022
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Minor injury possible
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.
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