Robots are made to go and do what humans either can not, or do not want to do. They are used in hundreds of ways from exploring Mars, to working tirelessly on a manufacturing line, to providing companionship. Not to mention they make great movie characters!
Mechanical switches are common in many machines and robots. They can be used to detect when a button is pushed, when a door is open, or a low-speed collision when two objects bump into each other. Switches can act as "bump sensors" on a simple robot to help it detect when it hits an obstacle. The robot can use this information to navigate around obstacles and avoid getting stuck. Can you build and program a robot that can drive around your house while using bump sensors to avoid obstacles?
Light sensors are part of many devices that we use every day. For example, they help your phone know when to automatically brighten or dim the screen based on ambient light levels. They can also be used to help solar panels track the sun, which helps the panels generate more power. Many spacecraft and planetary rovers (like the Mars rovers Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity) are solar-powered. In this project you will build and program your own solar-tracking robot. Optionally, you can add…
Have you ever seen a cat chase a laser pointer or a flashlight beam? What if you could make a robot do that? In this project, you will build a robot that can automatically drive toward a bright light source. The robot uses a simple electronic circuit to track light, so there is no computer programming required! You can also do three other robotics projects using the same kit of parts, so this is a great way to get started with robotics before moving on to more advanced projects.
How easy is it for you to walk along and follow a line that is painted on the ground? Simple, right? You might be able to follow a line without giving it much thought, but how could a robot do that? In this project, you will build your own automatic line-following robot that can race around a track that you create. This technology has plenty of real-world applications—maybe one day you could help design self-driving cars!
In the animal kingdom, many different critters use whiskers to help them find their way around in the dark, through murky waters, or even to help them hunt prey. Whiskers can be very useful when the animals cannot rely on sight. Did you know that you can also build a robot that uses "whiskers" to find its way around? This project will show you how to build a simple robot that uses whiskers as "bump sensors" to help the robot detect when it is about to bump into an obstacle, so it can turn…
Humans cannot see infrared light, but robots can! At least, they can when they use special infrared light sensors. These sensors can help robots detect nearby objects to avoid collisions and even help them avoid driving off edges. In this project you will build your own Arduino robot that uses infrared sensors to avoid driving off the edge of a table.
The Science Buddies Bluebot Kit contains parts to build four different robots:
A motion-activated robot that uses a passive infrared (PIR) sensor
A light-tracking robot that uses photoresistors
A line-following robot that uses infrared emitter-detectors
An obstacle-avoiding robot that uses bump sensors
However, in each project, the sensors are hard-wired to control the robot's motors. This allows the robot to steer left and right based on input from two sensors, but it does not allow…
A simple circuit and a servo motor are all you need to turn any work of art into an interactive moving creation that is happy to see you. Light sensors see your shadow as you walk past your artwork and make a servo motor move back and forth. Waving arms? Turning heads? It is all up to you!
Imagine how cool it would be to have your own motorized robot hand. Well, stop imagining and turn that
daydream into reality! Start out by designing and building a robot hand. The Science Buddies project
Grasping With Straws: Make a Robot Hand Using Drinking Straws
shows you a simple way to make a robot
hand with drinking straws, or you can design a robot hand from any other materials you think are suitable. Your hand design will need sewing threads, or some other mechanism, for motors to…
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.