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

**Carole Chen**, M.S. (1st year) Chemical and Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Working as a team, students discover the basic concepts of binary numbers and their significance in digital electronic circuitry. Each team designs and builds a basic stamp model that will convert binary numbers into decimal. The binary number will be represented by four push buttons, where each push button represents a binary place value. This model will only convert up to decimal number 15. The result of the conversion will be displayed on the screen. Students testing their work will need to convert by hand and verify the result against the model. Hence, students learn how to convert decimal number to binary using the concept of place value.

**Ryan Caeti**, M.S. (2nd. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** This activity introduces students to the processes involved in automated image scanning via a scanning bed. The scanner itself consists of a LEGO Mindstorms Light Sensor mounted to a traversing xy-stage, all connected to and controlled by a LEGO Mindstorms NXT intelligent brick. After students fill out a 7x7 grid, drawing whatever pattern/image they wish, the image is then scanned by the machine. The image data is then offloaded from the brick into the Processing programming environment whereby their image is rendered and displayed on a computer screen.

**James Muldoon**, MS (1st. year) Computer Engineering

**Summary:** Students experience haptic (the sense of touch) feedback by using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robots and touch sensors to emulate touch feedback recognition. With four touch sensors connected to LEGO NXTs, they design sensor attachments that feel physically distinguishable from each another. Then students answer questions and communicate their answers to the NXT by pressing the touch sensor that is associated with the right multiple-choice answer letter. Haptics becomes essential when students must use the NXT sensors to answer the next set of questions without the aid of their vision. This challenges them to rely solely on the tactile feeling of each unique touch sensor attachment that they created in order to choose the correct peripheral slot. Students also learn about real-world applications of haptics technology.

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

**Summary:** Students use a LEGO® ball shooter to demonstrate and analyze the motion of a projectile through use of a line graph. This activity involves using a method of data organization and trend observation with respect to dynamic experimentation with a complex machine. Also, the topic of line data graphing is covered. The main objective is to introduce students graphs in terms of observing and demonstrating their usefulness in scientific and engineering inquiries. During the activity, students point out trends in the data and the overall relationship that can be deduced from plotting data derived from test trials with the ball shooter.

**Jeffery Laut**, Ph.D. (1st. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** Students learn first-hand the relationship between force, area, and pressure. The students use a force sensor, built from a Lego NXT kit, to measure the force required to break through a napkin. The end of the force sensor has an interchangeable tip, allowing for different sized areas to apply the pressure across. Measuring the force, and knowing the area, the students compute the pressure.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf) | Pre Evaluation (pdf) | Post Evaluation (pdf)

**Carole Chen**, M.S. (1st year) Chemical and Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Working as a team, students learn about two energy forms, potential and kinetic energy, using the Lego Mindstorm kit. Potential energy is a form of stored energy that can be converted to kinetic once the object or system is set in motion. For example, when a roller coaster is at the top of the hill, the system has in within it potential energy. As the coaster’s brake is let go, it will travel down the slope, all the while converting the stored potential energy to motion, known as kinetic energy. Equations can be used to relate the two forms of energy and this activity will explore the equations along with hands on Lego activity.

Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf)

**Pavel Khazron**, Ph.D. (5th. year) Electrical Engineering

**Summary:**Students learn about traffic lights and their importance in maintaining public safety and order. Using the Basic Stamp 2 (BS2) microcontroller, students work in teams on the engineering task of building a traffic light with specified behavior. In the process, students learn about light emitting diodes (LEDs), and how their use can save energy. As programmers, students learn two simple commands used in programming the BS2 microcontroller, and a program control concept called a loop.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf) | Activity Solution (pdf)

**Violet Mwaffo**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary: **Students learn about ultrasound and how it can be used to determine the shapes and contours of unseen objects. Using a one-dimensional ultrasound imaging device (either prepared by the teacher or put together by the students) that incorporates a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT intelligent brick and ultrasonic sensor, they measure and plot the shape of an unknown object covered by a box. Looking at the plotted data, they make inferences about the shape of the object and guess what it is. Students also learn how engineers use high-frequency waves in the design of medical imaging devices, the analysis of materials and oceanographic exploration. Pre/post quizzes, a worksheet and a LEGO rbt program are provided.

**Carlo Yuvienco**, Ph.D. (2nd year) Biomedical Engineering

**Summary:** Students learn about potential energy, as expressed as the height of an object along a linear on-dimensional zipline track. A robot, designed to traverse the track, converting stored potential energy into kinetic energy, also is capable of monitoring the instantaneous speed of the robot using various sensors. Thus, students are able to quantify and compare the starting potential energy (height) of a robot and the conversion thereof into kinetic energy (linear displacement). The system that is presented is that of a single robot, which is built using the LEGO Mindstorms robotics platform and installed with Lejos 0.9 firmware.