If you have decided to give your feet Whether you’re a nerd or not, robots are cool and that’s given. Getting your child into robotics will help them to enhance their patience, ingenuity and creativity. Who knows, in the future they will be future robotics engineers, technicians and programmers when their passion towards creating robots is encouraged and supported.
Many school science projects and science fairs involve robots and creating them. If your child is involved in a school robot project and is looking for good ideas, he or she may want to look at the suggestions below:
1. Android phone-controlled robot
BThere is no doubt that Android phones are some of the most popular mobile gadgets right now. Creating robots are one of the more educational and fun ways to take advantage of the Android-enabled technology.
You can find apps that make use of built-in hardware in Android phones (such as Bluetooth and WiFi), to control other devices. Android-controlled robots typically have Bluetooth or WiFi modules from which they communicate with or receive commands from Android phones via Bluetooth or WiFi, depending on the application. Most robots are run by the Arduino board, and there are wireless Arduino shields which allow the robot to communicate wirelessly by using a Bluetooth or WiFi module.
The good thing about creating Android-controlled robots is that you don’t have to require an Android programming experience.
2. Soccer robot
A lot of kids love sports and games, and what could be a cooler way to incorporate them than to create a robot that actually plays soccer? You can make your soccer robot to move forward and backward/left and right and kick a ball using your Android phone. You can also control the robot’s speed by angling or shaking your Android phone. Arduino UNO, the most popular Arduino type, is typically used as the heart of the circuit.
3. Simple robot car
If your child has just started his serious passion for robots or is about to embark on his first robotics project at school, perhaps the best way to start is to make a very simple robot car. This project is easy as it doesn’t require any programming. All this project needs are rudimentary items such as four bottle caps (for the wheels) as well as the other usual components (such as a switch, a motor and a battery pack) to get the your little robot car running. You should keep a watchful eye over your child if he/she uses a glue gun or solders to attach the components together. These things can be very hot and will cause burns if they’re not handled carefully.
4. Racing bristlebots (or brushbots)
Another super-easy robotics project idea is making “bristlebots” – that is, small robots that are made out of toothbrush bristles. They’re like cute little critters, with the bristles acting as their feet.
When cutting off a toothbrush head, make sure that adult supervision is required. To get the “bristlebot” running, you will need a coin cell battery and a vibration motor to attach to the top of the toothbrush head. Attaching the corresponding exposed wires of the coin cell battery and the wires of the vibration motor together will cause your bristlebot to vibrate, spin and move by itself. Also, this project doesn’t cost you a lot.
5. Robotic arm
Building a robotic arm is one of the most common robotics projects for the school kids. Aside from the essential parts such as microcontroller (usually the Arduino UNO motor board) and servo motors, literally almost everything can be used to build a robotic arm – from wood scraps and used popsicle sticks, to empty plastic bottles and discarded metals. It’s also a good and fun start to teach your kids about recycling.
6. Robots from construction toys
Construction toys (such as toy blocks) make great materials to use for creating robots. Unlike the other materials used for building robots, construction toys allow for more imagination and creativity because these toys offer limitless possibilities. Plus, the components of these construction toys are also easy to disassemble for future robotics projects. Several toy manufacturers even offer construction toy robot kits which are designed for different age groups. These robot kits usually come with a software, while other corresponding packs are sold separately. These kits will help their children in enhancing their STEM skills, and will make a fun introduction to programming.
7. Scribbling robots
If you believe that art and science do not go together, think again. This project uses some rudimentary household items such as a plastic cup, color markers, and some basic motor and power components (a 9-volt battery will do). You can build an artistic robot that makes fun and crazy colorful designs and patterns when in motion.
8. Robots that avoid obstacles
Making a robot which avoids things (such as walls, furniture and clutter) that get in its way is a fun start to create intelligent toys from scratch. It also makes an enjoyable and exciting introduction to programming. As long as you have the essential robotic components such as the Arduino UNO, a couple of DC motors with a controller, a key switch, a battery and a sensor, you can make an autonomous robot you will definitely enjoy playing with.
9. Underwater robots
For children who already have some experience in creating robots, they will definitely welcome a new challenge of making an underwater robot. The motor, batteries and a model boat propeller are the most essential parts to build an underwater boat. Glue, epoxy and duct tape are also needed to make the robot water-proof. Kids will have fun in creating a robot that will not only float on the water, but will also go under the water. Since this project involves risks such as a hot glue gun and spinning propellers, adult supervision is required to prevent injury.
Vibrobots are small robots which are run by a vibrating motor (the type you find in mobile phones). Design your own vibrobots using spare parts and scrap materials you can find – paper clips, carboards, bottle caps, odds and ends from your dad’s toolbox, etc. Creating vibrobots will surely tickle your child’s imagination and creativity, as the possibilities are endless. The greatest thing of all in making vibrobots? No prior experience with robotics is required!