Applying Mechatronics to Promote Science / Central Brooklyn Robotics Initiative (AMPS / CBRI)

**Keeshan Williams**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Chemical and Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Using the Lego Mindstorms kit, students will construct an experiment where the time to travel a specified distance by a free falling body is measured. Students will use the touch sensor, rotational sensor, and the NXT brick, to measure the time of flight for the falling object, at different release heights. After the object is released from its holder and travels a specified distance, a touch sensor is triggered and time of object's descent from release to impact at touch sensor is recorded and displayed on the screen of the NXT. Students will calculate the velocity of the falling object at each point of release, and construct a graph of velocity versus time. A best fit line will then be applied to this graph, of which the slope will be obtained and compared to the standard value of g.

Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf) | Pre Evaluation (pdf) | Post Evaluation (pdf)

**Karl Abdelnour**, Ph.D.(1st year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** This lesson introduces students to torque, power, friction, and gear ratio. Two students/teams modify a robotic Lego vehicle by changing its gear ratio, wheel, size, weight, and engine power. Students are given a certain amount of points to spend on modifications. An upgrade in gear ratio or wheel size will result in a larger amount of points being deducted from their total. These robots are then put on a track opposite each other with a rope attaching one to the other. The robot with the right adjustments will pull the other robot across a line signifying it has won.

**Irina Igel**, M.S./Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

**Summary:** This LEGO Mindstorms-based activity is geared for Regents or AP Physics students. In this activity students practice to measure and analyze various forces that act on the vehicle that is moving at a constant speed on the frictional surface. During this activity students identify, measure and calculate forces that act on a moving object, i.e., weight, normal force, force of friction, force generated by the motor, tension in the string. Students use scales to measure the weight and the pulling force of the car and calculate the other forces using formulae.

Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf) | Pre Evaluation (pdf) | Post Evaluation (pdf)

**Karl Abdelnour**, Ph.D.(1st year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** This activity focuses on allowing children to qualitatively and quantitatively understand the concepts of forces and springs and their inherent linear relationship. The students will perform a basic experiment in groups and be guided through the simple analysis of the data they gather.

**Keeshan Williams**, Ph.D. (2nd. year)Chemical and Biological Engineering

**Summary:**Using the Lego Mindstorms kit, a simple robot will be constructed and used to explore the relationship between gears, speed and torque. The motion of the robot is governed by attaching wheels to motors, such that the robot is permitted to move in all directions. Students will measure the linear distance traveled by the robot in a specified time, calculate its speed and gauge impact of adding gears to the speed of the robot. Furthermore, students will be introduced to a mathematical relationship between the speed and gear ratios and use it to predict the speed of the robot.

**Irina Igel**, M.S./Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

**Summary:** Through this activity, students learn about sound waves and utilize them as a tool to measure distance between objects. The activity explores how engineers incorporate ultrasound waves to design devices that are used to make sonograms and sonar equipment. Students learn about properties, sources and applications of three types of sound waves, known as the infra-, audible- and ultra-sound frequency ranges. Students use ultrasound waves to measure distances and understand how the sensor is engineered.

**Karl Abdelnour**, Ph.D.(1st year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** The purpose of this experiment is to test whether Force = Mass x Acceleration. The technique will be similar to that used to measure g in lab 2. You will use the weight of a small mass, m, to provide the force that accelerates a system consisting of a large mass, M, the air cart + the aluminum “flag,” and the small mass, m. If friction can be neglected, 1. (M + m) a = mg or 2. a = (mg)/(M + m). You will measure m, M and a to see if the measured acceleration really is given by the above equation, i.e. does ameasured = atheory where the theoretical value is given by the equation above, using the measured masses and g = 9.80 m/s2. You will measure the acceleration, a, by recording the time the flag passes the sensors on the air track, the distance between those points and computing the velocity and then the acceleration of the cart. The computer will record the times; you will measure the distances and compute the velocities and acceleration.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf)

**Mihai Pruna**, Ph.D. (1st year) Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering

**Summary:** Each group of students will construct a LEGO Mindstorm NXT set-up that includes a pendulum and a light sensor. The light sensor will detect time instances when the pendulum's bob passes through a certain point as dips on a plot of measured light intensity. From these plots, students will measure the period of the pendulum for different lengths of the pendulum rod. Next, they will compare the experimentally determined values of the period to values calculated using a well-know formula. Finally, they will change the weight of the bob connected to the pendulum string and repeat the experiment to verify that the period of the pendulum is not affected by changes in the bob's weight. A discussion on the practical applications of pendulum technology and its history should be included as part of the post-activity assessment.

**Ronald Poveda**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** During this activity, students use data acquisition equipment to learn about force and displacement in regard to simple or complex machines. In the engineering world, materials and/or systems are tested by applying forces to the material or system and measuring the displacements that result. The relationship between the force applied on a material, and its resulting displacement, is a distinct property of the material, which is measured in order to evaluate the material for proper use in structures and machines.