Robotic Arm

To help out in space, scientists have designed and used robotic arms for years. On Earth, scientists have designed robotic arms for everything from moving heavy equipment to performing delicate surgery. Robotic arms are important machines that help people work on Earth as well as in space.
 
In this activity, teams will design and build a robotic arm to perform some simple tasks.
 
Mission Question
Can we design a robotic arm to grab objects at a distance?
 
Skills
Engineering, Design and Teamwork
Learning Objectives:
  • discover relationships between the length of a robotic arm and the level of difficulty to grab objects
  • investigate importance of hinges in arm function
  • collaborate in designing an arm
  • test various materials for grippers end effectors
  • compare and modify designs based on how well they meet performance criteria and constraints
Equipment
  • Robotic Arm:
    • 96 popsicle sticks
    • 24 erasers or sponge pieces
    • 12 sets of chopsticks
    • 12 pairs of tweezers
    • 12 storage bins
    • 12 ping-pong balls
    • scissors
    • cotter pins
    • hole punch or awl (leather punch)
  • End effector:
    • styrofoam or paper cups (2 per end effector)
    • 12-cm pieces of string (3 per end effector)
    • cellophane tape
    • plastic picnic knives (serrated)
    • straw or lollipop (1 per end effector)
Time
1 hour

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