EN 9: Technological Advancements while Homeschooling

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Manche Schüler*innen nutzen neben dem Homeschooling ihre Zeit und setzen kreative, teils auch komplexe Ideen um. Die Aufgabe im Englischunterricht der 9. Klasse war es, ein solches aktuelles Projekt zu beschreiben, wobei der Begriff Projekt sehr weit gefasst war…

Technological Advancements while Homeschooling: The Robot Arm

During my time at home I have started constructing a robot arm. In first place, I started the project because I wanted to use the robot arm for other projects. However, while eventually planning my project I thought it would be great to build a robot arm that can fulfil many different tasks: I want to be able to change the arm’s programme, the control electronics or even its parts, if I need to. For example the development of a chess robot that complies with all those functions would be a great idea. In this case I would use an electromagnet instead of a hand to drag and drop the figures.

Idea & Planning

In general, you can buy robots like the one I am designing right now everywhere on the internet. Nevertheless, those robots have two major problems: The first issue is that they are very expensive. A low quality arm from Amazon costs more than a 100 Euros. The next problem is that you can’t do everything with it you would like to do.

As I said in the beginning, I started developing a robot arm, because I want to use an electromagnet instead of a hand to drag and drop the figures. And here is how I actually proceeded constructing the robot arm: First, I designed the case in a 3D-development programme. Then I bought some motors and motor drivers. When everything was there, I constructed a programme for the motors.

How Does the Motor-Programme Work?

  • The motors have to be started.
  • The motors move clockwise until they push the limit switch button (zero point).
  • The motors move counter-clockwise until the button is pushed again (maximum).
  • The motor can`t cross those borders.
  • In modus Gradstellung (degree number) the motor moves to the entered position. This will be used in bigger programs to have a basic movement function.

Implementation

Some days later I tried out this programme and uploaded it to the micro-controller. After starting it nothing worked. So I searched for the mistake until I found it. In the following I want to design a circuit board. I only have to order it and then I can start. Almost. I still need the case. The design is ready, but I have to print the case with a 3D printer at school, which is unfortunately not possible at the moment. Meanwhile, I will be expanding the project. Right now, the arm can do just one movement at the time. The problem is that those movements are very slow. Imagine the chess robot: It would be quite boring if it needed a lot of time to pick up the figure, to take it in many steps to the right position before finally dropping it. It would look so much better and it would be a lot more fun, if the transitions were more fluent and the steps for positioning were executed simultaneously. However, I already have an idea how to solve this problem.

Louis Krolop, Klasse 9.5 (im Englischunterricht von Frau Hecht)