Robotics and Engineering
Middle/Junior High School (grades 6 through 9)
Difficulty of Project
About $35.00 Excluding the cost of the Tri-fold display board.
When assembling the robot and the maze keep all tools in good working order. Use the tool only for what it is designed to do. Always ensure the screwdriver fits the head of the screw. Do not hold the work piece against your body while using the screwdriver. Do not use a screwdriver as a punch, chisel, pry bar or nail puller. If wood needs to cut in preparing the maze seek assistance from an adult and always ware safety glasses.
The robot used in this project comes in kit form and can be purchased online. The other required materials are readily available locally.
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
The research aspect of this science fair project is to find out if the movement of a robot equipped with sound/touch sensor circuitry displays sequential or random movement by determining the average number of errors that the robot makes in going through a maze.
Given appropriate materials the investigator will construct a motorized robot with a built in sensor that reacts to vibration from sound or physical contact. This robotic capability will be used to determine the average number of errors that the robot would make in going through the maze. Performance of the robot will be scored by tallying the number of mistakes made between the time of the robot enters the maze and the time of its exit.
From the observations made
a data table will be produced and the results will be displayed in the form of a graph. In conducting this project the investigator will be able to determine if the robot’s movement is sequential or random.
Materials and Equipment / Ingredients
OWIKit Sound/Touch Sensor Rockit© robot kit,small Philips screw driver, seven 2 feet long and 6 inch high wooden blocks, long nose pliers, two “AA” batteries, stop watch, and wood glue.
With the exception of the robot kit the hand tools, glue, and wooden blocks can be purchased from the local Home Depot or Lowe's home improvement supply store.
Nasco Science Catalog number SB25233M. Also, a Tri-fold cardboard display board can be purchased from an art & crafts supply store.
Given appropriate materials the young investigator will construct a motorized robot from a kit featuring a pre-assembled (soldering not required) PC boards, hardware, condenser microphone, and an easy-to-assemble mechanical drive system. Assembly requires only basic hand tools. This robot has a built-in sensor, which reacts to vibrations from sound or physical contact. It moves forward but when it senses a high pitched noise (such as a hand clap) or vibration from physical contact with an obstacle, it retreats by reversing and turning left for a preset time and then continues forward on a new course.
External sensors are to robots as the five senses are to humans; touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing. The sensor sends information, in the form of electronic signals back to the robot’s controller circuit.
Some of the first uses of a maze as a research device were for studying animal learning these same principal will be followed in this project with the exception that a robot will be used instead of an animal. The robot is placed at the entrance of the maze, clapping or the vibration of the collision with the walls are the means for steering the robot through the maze. The following illustration shows the robot beginning its navigation through a simple maze.
An error is defined as any turn away from the correct path leading from the starting entrance to the exit. Performance of the robot is scored by tallying the number of mistakes made between the time of the robot enters the maze and its exit.
The robot must move directly from the starting point through the maze in a preset time period. If the robot does or does not exit the maze at the end of the set time this constitutes the end of trail one. The robot is then placed at the entrance and sent through maze again this same process is repeated for a minimum of 4 trials and a maximum of however many trials the investigator wishes to conduct. A stopwatch or other timing device is used to determine the time required for each trial.
Digital photos can be taken during the experimenting process and the following websites offer down loadable related images that can be used on the display board:
- What is the science of robotics?
- What is the function of an electronic sound/touch sensor?
- Will a robot equipped with a sound/touch sensor be able to successfully navigate through a maze?
- What was the average number of errors that the robot made in going through the maze?
- Which movement was displayed by the robot, sequential or random, as it went through the maze?
- Does the action of the robot in navigating through the maze display a form of artificial intelligence?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
Robotics, electronic sensors, sequential movement, random movement, artificial intelligence