Adventures in STEM- making robotic progress with Ardunio

Arduino is not only a fabulous circuit board, but it is also it’s own language with its own grammar and syntax rules. Using the Arduino basics course from Stan Winston School of Character Arts, I was able to program my Arduino Uno board to do some very simple functions.

Such as:

Programming a buzzer to make sound,

Programming a servo to move,

Making my first code!

Which has all lead towards me assembling my first actual robot!

First test of my Arduino robot Rosie!

Posted by Katherine Hannaford on Thursday, December 21, 2017

I am calling my robot Rosie after the robot in the Jetsons. There are not enough female robots in popular culture and my long term goal is to eventually have Rosie talking like Rosie from the Jetsons! My Rosie is a 2 wheel drive platform from Jaycar, with an ultra-sonic sensor on the front so that she avoids obstacles. Assembling just the platform was tricky as the instructions were hard to find and not linked in the assembly instructions for the whole robot!

The first modification I want to make to the robot is to add a switch so I can turn her on or off. At the moment, I can only turn her off my removing a battery from the battery holder. I also want to experiment with the robot on different surfaces. I was noticing during the first drive that, the wheels got stuck on the thick nylon carpet in my house. I want to compare how Rosie runs on low pile carpet, tiles, and concrete.

What I haven’t been able to achieve yet is to take the Uno board and several other components and write custom code for it yet. So far, I am relying on code that is available in the Arduino Library or on project sheets. My next experiment for Rosie is to add a line trace module to Rosie’s base chassis and see if she can follow a line. My next experiment in coding is to see if I can combine a button press input to a potentiometer and make a joystick work.

Miss H

 

Adventures in STEM- Learning to play with Arduino

In 2018, I will be teaching stand alone STEM classes instead of puppetry. First thing I want to say is I don’t like the acronym STEM which stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. I prefer STEAM with the A standing for the Arts. Creativity is a very important component when solving real world problems, and in STEAM, creativity is included under A for Arts. For the purposes of this blog, I will refer to the new course as STEAM. So, if you prefer to leave the A out, that’s fine, but I will be all inclusive and call it STEAM.

I have never taught STEAM as a subject before. I have taught many students and colleagues a great deal about using technology to solve problems in teaching and learning but not within the framework of STEAM. I have also used a great many principals of STEAM within my puppet building, through project based learning, iterations and 3D printing. I will be teaching stage 4, which so far, has no program or resources that I am aware of, that can guide my preparation over summer. My school does have access to the amazing iSTEM Syllabus and online resources but the course I am teaching cannot overlap that sensational course.

So what am I doing to prepare myself for an unknown course?

  • I am creating a STEAM pinterest board of activities and classroom organisation which might help me in the year ahead.
  • I bought an Arduino starter kit from Jaycar Electronics to start learning how to code my own robots. The best part is I can apply this learning to my puppetry to make my first animatronics move using coding!!!!!!

 

Plastic box containing multiple small electronic components

My Arduino Learning kit with everything to create my first robots!

I am using the Stan Winston School of Character Arts course on Arduino Programming Basics to help me understand the potential that is within this kit.

I have completed my first little project of making an on-board LED light turn on and off by pressing a button! Here are the instructions from Arduino’s website!

Onto my next project!

Miss H

A Mechanical Summer: Part 7- It’s Alive!!!!

All I can say is wow! It works- it’s alive!!!!! I have 16 vertebrae and 8 are moving precisely like they are supposed to! Stage 1 of the tentacle- from the tip to vertebrae 9 is moving and curling. However, for some reason, stage 2 is barely moving. Current working theory is that the brake cable housing I am using is too stiff to allow the stage 2 mechanism to move at all. I may have to make another base plate that has no large passage holes and screw all the brake cable housings into that so that the bare cable is running through the passage holes of the actual tentacle.

 

I am still waiting for more set screws to arrive so I can finish attaching all the vertebrae and the tail tip. While I am waiting, I have started designing the next mechanism!!!

A Mechanical Summer- Part 1

I am about to start my summer school vacation. It has been a challenging year for me teaching and puppetry wise, but now that the year is almost over, I have some time to persue a few of my goals in learning more about mechanical design in puppets.

I have three goals in mind; 1. Design and make a cat’s tail using a cable mechanism, 2. Design and make a rotating eye mechanism, 3. Design and make a sliding control mechanism for blinking eyes. All of these mechanisms already exist in the world but, for me, making them myself will give me an opportunity to explore these shapes and movements and challenge my 3D printing and design experience.

Here are the videos that have inspired me

But, this book has been my chief inspiration-

20161208-193513.jpg

Figures in the Fourth dimension- Mechanical Movement for Puppets and Automata by Ellen S. Rixford

Here is a preview link of this incredible book

This is going to be an interesting summer!

Playing with Vokis

I know it has been a while since I posted- sorry! I decided to have a little break to recharge my online batteries.

I was asked by another teacher to show her how Voki works as she wanted her languages class to create Voki’s. The process is really easy and here is a Youtube video from Teacher tube to show you how it works

 

and here is my first experimental voki using a Japanese voice