abesilva
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Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:59 pm
Occupation: Parent

Interview Request: Sunlight/Nightlight sensor

Postby abesilva » Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:23 pm

Hello my son has put together the following interview questions:

Hello, I'm doing a Science Fair Project and my topic is a sunlight/nightlight sensor. As part of my project, I'm suppose to ask an expert these questions:

1. How long have you worked with sensors?
2. What items do you work with besides sensors?
3. How did you become interested in science?
4. I think that my project is useful because, first of all, it was interesting and I think it would help during a power outage. Do you agree?

Would someone be able to help?
Thank you

bfinio
Expert
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:41 pm
Occupation: Science Buddies Staff

Re: Interview Request: Sunlight/Nightlight sensor

Postby bfinio » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:32 am

Hi - I am an author here at Science Buddies and I also teach a robotics class at Cornell University. I have a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in robotics, so I'll be able to answer your questions:

1. How long have you worked with sensors?
I have worked with different types of sensors since I started doing research the summer between my junior and senior years of college. That was in 2006, so 14 years!

2. What items do you work with besides sensors?
When I did research as an undergraduate I worked in a field called "fluid dynamics," specifically studying how water flows through pipes. Sensors in fluid dynamics measure things like the water pressure or how fast the water is moving (its velocity). Since then, in graduate school and for my job, I have mainly worked with robots. Robots use many types of sensors so they can tell where they are and avoid bumping into things. The Science Buddies Bluebot projects are great examples of robots using different types of sensors: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/search?v=pi&s=bluebot. In the class I teach at Cornell, students build robots that use color sensors to drive around a colored arena and compete against another robot to push blocks to one side: https://www.cornell.edu/video/robotics-day-2018. Working with sensors also means lots of working with electrical circuits and computer programming to get the data from the sensors, and electrical tools like breadboards, multimeters, and oscilloscopes. Science Buddies also has tutorials on multimeters and breadboards if you don't know what those are (we don't have one for oscilloscopes though):
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... breadboard
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... multimeter

3. How did you become interested in science?
I always liked building things as a kid, and playing with toys like LEGOs and K'Nex. I always wanted to know how things around me worked, and to be able to answer questions like "How does electricity work? Why do the lights come on when I flip the switch?" or "How do cars work? Why does the car move forward when you push the gas pedal?" So I'd say that combination of curiosity about how things work and the desire to design/build things led me to study mechanical engineering in college.

4. I think that my project is useful because, first of all, it was interesting and I think it would help during a power outage. Do you agree?
Certainly! Light sensors can be used outdoors to detect whether it is day or night. For example, some people have lights by their front door/driveway that automatically turn on at night. Indoor night lights also use light sensors to turn on automatically when it gets dark inside, so you could also use them during a power outage when the regular lights aren't working. I'm not sure if this is the project you're already doing, but FYI Science Buddies has a project about building a night light with a light sensor: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... ight-light

Hope that helps, please write back if you have more questions!

-Ben

abesilva
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:59 pm
Occupation: Parent

Re: Interview Request: Sunlight/Nightlight sensor

Postby abesilva » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:20 pm

On behalf of my son and I, thank you so much for your responses. We greatly appreciate all your help.

bfinio
Expert
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:41 pm
Occupation: Science Buddies Staff

Re: Interview Request: Sunlight/Nightlight sensor

Postby bfinio » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:26 pm

You're welcome, glad that I could help!

HappyQuarantineParent90
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:52 am
Occupation: Parent

Re: Interview Request: Sunlight/Nightlight sensor

Postby HappyQuarantineParent90 » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:28 am

Great interview!


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