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Others Like “The World Is Your (Physics) Sandbox: Changing the Settings in a Robot Simulation with VoxCAD”

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
thumbnail In our , we provided a template with four materials: two active materials that expand and contract in the physics sandbox mode, and two passive materials — one hard and one soft. The project mentioned material properties, but it did not go into much detail — you just used the default settings from the template. Changing the material properties can drastically change how your robots behave. Engineers must take material properties into account when designing robots and other machines.… Read more
Robotics_p018
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with VoxCAD software is required for this project. We recommend completing the Science Buddies [# 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 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
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
Project Idea
thumbnail How far would you have to travel so that the light of the full sun would provide "daylight" no brighter than twilight on Earth? This project describes a method to verify the inverse square law: how light, sound, electrical signals, and gravity each decrease with distance from their source. When you have finished your experiment, you can use your results to calculate an answer. Read more
Elec_p028
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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—use caution when handling single-edged razor blades.
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
Project Idea
thumbnail While trains that fly through the air might still be science fiction, trains that float just above the tracks without actually touching them are real and are actually used in a few countries today. This technology is called magnetic levitation. In this physics science project, you will build your own levitating train model and test how much weight it can hold before it stops hovering above the tracks. Read more
Phys_p093
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires the Magic Bullet Train kit, available for purchase from the [# Link Name="Phys_p093.12" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety When working with magnets, keep them away from your mouth, and away from small children and pets.
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
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.

Project Idea
thumbnail If you have ever prepared a cup of coffee or tea with sugar, you have probably seen that the grains of sugar quickly dissolve and completely disappear in hot water. But sugar is not the only type of solid that can readily dissolve in a liquid. In fact, there are some types of rocks that can be dissolved by common liquids. It might be hard to imagine large, hard rocks being eaten away by some ordinary fluids, right? But it actually happens all the time! In this geology science project, you will… Read more
Geo_p047
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Small limestone rocks are needed to do this science project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Note: The listed time required to do this science project includes shipping time.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
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