There is no doubt that COVID lockdowns have been difficult for many in so many ways. The need to connect and collaborate is one thing our Robotics Clubs are best at facilitating. Declan is one of our club members who has been attending the Adelaide City Club for around 18 months. He first learnt about Arduino by attending Techspace Learning Beginners and Beginners 2.0 workshops, and this lit a fire in him to tinker, experiment and try new things. Now attending the Intermediate workshops, he is learning to write code in full, rather than through the easier “drag and drop” interface. This is allowing him to expand his knowledge further, and means his abilities to create new and exciting projects, are virtually limitless.
During a recent Adelaide snap lockdown, Declan found himself at home, just like thousands of other high school students, and he had an idea, but I’ll let him tell you the story…
“This is the trash car. There is nothing much remarkable about this vehicle. It was made from random garbage I had lying around. I was incredibly surprised that Don wanted this on the club’s Facebook page. The rack and pinion steering assembly are out of an old cheep RC car. The propulsion unit is from an old robotics kit. The chassis is made from lightweight, strong and eco-friendly cardboard that I had lying around. The primary bonding agent is hot glue and cable ties; very classy. The micro controller is an Arduino Uno. The onboard sensors are a single ultra-sonic sensor. The power unit is two conventional alkaline 9V batteries. One is connected to the Arduino and one is connected to the motor driver. I made this fine piece of automotive engineering during the lockdown; I was very bored. The purpose of the trash car was to roam around the house. Completely pointless. Like a Roomba but it doesn’t vacuum. When it approached an object, it would detect it with the ultra-sonic sensor and then proceed to drive around it. The emphasis of this project was pure cheapness. The total cost of the project was $0. Personally, I believe that there is a certain art to making things out of trash. As a review, I think that the software I wrote was very good, except the steering was a bit sketchy. I completely blame this on the hardware. It would never drive straight and perfect even when trimmed properly.”
We love that Declan had this opportunity to create this fine piece of automotive engineering. As a junior high school student, what better way to learn, than to experiment, design and create something out of things that are lying around the house. We are so thrilled for Declan, and excited about how his mind is now thinking and creating. This is exactly the point, the mission and the goals of Techspace Learning’s very existence.