One thing we can confidently claim about this group – they dream big. Joining the Kiwibots competition was an idea we had for the long term future, but we hadn’t realised the passion and determination our group had to want to make it happen sooner. Our problem was funding this dream. Kiwibots isn’t cheap. Deciding on a solution to this was a difficult part of our journey. Students had some fantastic ideas (and again big ideas). They were able to assess the various options and analyse whether or not they could achieve certain things. Chris’s input during this section was valuable and helped to set achievable goals. The students decided on building a prototype robot which would lead into a saleable product.
During work on our prototype the students learnt more about circuits, motors and gearing, motor drive ICs, Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) for speed control, truth tables, coding and programming in Scratch. They then went on to learn about specific requirements for Arduino and Infra-Red (IR) remote controls. As they explored and investigated they came across issues related to ball-shaped robots, some of which they are still ironing out.
At a cost of approximately $58.10 it is unlikely to sell at carnival, which was our original idea, but the students thought it could be added to an auction event, or sold later when we have worked out all of the issues. It could be developed into an educational kit – an option discussed at our last meeting.
Working with Chris Quill has been an absolute pleasure and he has certainly given more than we could have ever dreamed or hoped for to support this group and help to guide them this year. The students have learnt so much from his sharing of knowledge and gained confidence as he has patiently listened and validated their ideas and input.
Young Engineers Club will continue to work on the OPEO prototype, despite the competition closing, and get it developed to help achieve their initial goal. They are one determined, innovative, problem solving bunch and we can’t wait to see what they do next.