World Class Research Project – With Mars HI-SEAS Crew

Our second robotics team has made some great progress with their project for the FLL tournament.

They have begun making contact with two of the 6-member crew of Mars Hi-SEAS Mission 3.

Zak Wilson just got back with a document on 3D printing and terra-forming.

Sophie Milam, sent in a video about the need for spacesuits on Mars, and why they are using space suits even on ‘fake Mars.’

The video she sent in is worth sharing with the rest of the school, since this discussions about gravity and pressure are very current – given that many students have begun to talk about the movie Interstellar.


Robots with Cameras – Scary or Fun?

A camera on a robot might sound a bit intrusive. 

But by combining the two technologies it could get students to think beyond table-top variety, and consider the real-world applications. (Think self-driving cars with that clunky sensor on top…)

So this week we took the Robot Maze Challenge to the next level – adapting a camera to see what the robot sees as it goes through the maze. 

Dr. Bill Johnson was here today and helped the students think through a new maze that could be navigated with both a color sensor and an ultrasonic sensor. We built a new maze with cardboard boxes. Notice the extra obstacles the bot has to avoid.

This is what the camera sees.

If you do not see the video, use this link.

Encryption and Coding – 100 Years Before HTML

Interesting how the art of the cryptic language has been something that we humans practiced for a long time. I use this as a preamble to my 5th grade class on coding.

Students could see a broader context of coding when we discuss the following:

There’s a wonderful story of how Thomas Jefferson used to correspond with a friend who wrote to him in code – around the time of the authoring of the Declaration of Independence. Then there’s the predecessor to Braille, which was really a military code (‘night writing’) for soldiers to read messages without light.

And more recently, we have seen the news of how Jeremiah Denton, as a POW, ‘flashed’ a message to the world using his eyes –blinking the word ‘torture’ in Morse.