The Hallett Cove Joeys were looking for something fun and engaging, new and exciting, to do at their weekly meetings. They approached Techspace Learning for inspiration, after seeing some of the fun being had at one of the Wednesday night Robotics Club evenings.
Keen to inspire and engage young people in electronics wonder, the robotics club set up the bottle rocket Launcher in the Scout Hall. The Joeys worked hard to make their personalised bottle rockets aerodynamic, colourful and special, before they were launched across the scout hall, aiming to land, or crash, into the pre-determined landing zones.
The Joeys and their Scout Leaders and Masters, had lots of laughs and a lot of fun was had by all involved. The determination to reach the landing zones and to improve the flight path, had all participants engaged for the entire evening.
It’s evenings such as these that keep the club and the team going. As a not for profit organisation, Techspace Learning does not receive any external funding, and all the money gained from special events and workshops, goes back into the two robotics clubs. The clubs, and workshops, aim to be inclusive to all who want to learn and play in the world of electronics and robotics. We chose to use Arduino microprocessors, due to their affordability, open source infrastructure, and their ability to do almost anything you can conjure up in your mind.
The Arduino microprocessor is so versatile, as there are so many different options and combinations that can be plugged in. Sensors of any kind, LED lights, servo motors, stepper motors, LCD screens, buttons & switches, pots (potentiometers), speakers, seven segments, infra red, ultrasonics and relays, are some of the common parts used. This has allowed club members to build all manner of gadgets, many of which are included in our science displays, or have been created as school or university projects by club members. One particularly creative device is the coin sorter, created by one of the original members of the Hallett Cove Robotics Club, back in it’s early beginnings in 2014.
This invention uses Lego bricks as its base infrastructure, and then uses light sensors and motors, to move the coin along, determine its size, and therefore its type, and deposit the coin into the correct denomination container. Some challenges arose with the 10c piece and the $2 coin, as their actual size is almost the same. But this is where team-work and troubleshooting skills are developed, and solutions to problems come about.
Techspace Learning and its associated Robotics Clubs, is so proud of the achievements of the members, who often start at a young age, and continue to enjoy the friendships and likeminded company of others, as they grow and develop into young adults, often continuing on to volunteer at science displays, and work as assistants in workshop programs.