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Others Like “Hard, Soft, or in Between? Changing Material Properties in Robot Design with VoxCAD”

Science Fair 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
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail 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
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
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Jumping discs can be a fun toy to play with, and with their sudden POP!, they can even be a good way to startle people who have never heard them before. Jumping discs use a neat trick to jump. They are made of two different types of metal, and these metals expand when they heat up (or shrink when they cool down), but not by exactly the same amount. In this science project you will explore how temperature affects the reactions of your jumping discs— and how to get the timing right if you… Read more
Phys_p094
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This project requires buying bimetallic jumping discs. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision is required during use of a hair dryer as a heat source. Hair dryers can cause burns or fires if used improperly and should not be operated by small children alone.

Do not use the jumping discs on surfaces that are fragile or can be easily scratched.

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Watching professional racing-car drivers compete can be thrilling. The high speeds that racing cars can reach — up to 200 miles per hour (mph) and more! — put some unique demands on the vehicles. For example, to withstand high temperatures, the tires must be inflated with nitrogen gas, instead of air as with normal car tires. This enables the drivers to have better control over steering their cars as they race around the track. In this sports science project, you will inflate… Read more
Sports_p062
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A helium tank is required to do this science project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Follow all safety precautions when using the helium tank and working with helium gas, as described on the tank's packaging.
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever wondered how it's possible to so accurately date ancient artifacts? Geologists, paleontologists, archeologists, and anthropologists use a statistical process like radioactive isotope decay to date objects through a method called radioactive dating (also known as radiometric dating). To learn more about that method, check out the geology science project . In that particular Project Idea, radioactive decay of isotopes is modeled by rolling dice. While that procedure is a great way… Read more
CompSci_p045
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with a programming language and basic programming algorithms
Material Availability Readily available
Safety No issues
Science Fair 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.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Robots come in many shapes and sizes. From the Mars Rovers to toy dinosaurs, robots are well-planned machines designed to suit their individual purposes. In this science project, you will test different robot designs with an online simulator made up of dots and lines, much like bendable soda straws. How will each robot design respond to changes in their conditions? Read more
ApMech_p020
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites You need to work on a computer on which you are allowed to download a new program. Check with the owner of the computer before you proceed.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you've ever played or watched basketball, you might already know that your chances of successfully banking a shot on the backboard are higher in certain positions on the basketball court, even when keeping the distance from the hoop the same. Ever wondered what would account for this? Do you think you could actually explain this using geometry? This science project will put your knowledge of geometry and algebra to good use. You will calculate and quantify how much more difficult it is to… Read more
Sports_p064
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should have a familiarity with basic algebra.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair 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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