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September, 2014 Robostorm Update written for National 4-H Week


The members of the Robostorm 4-H Robotics Club continued to be involved in a variety of robotics and technology projects this past year, culminating in a phenomenal five-day interactive science-fair-like experience at the summer’s County fair. Each club member had an individual invention on display, which were explained during each day’s Tech Demo hour. The range of skills and technologies exercised was impressive; most designs were original. There were robots using touch and ultrasonic sensors, Bluetooth and RF remote controlling, solar energy, a home built 3-D printer, CAD design used to 3-D print, electrical wiring and soldering, a highly articulated robotic arm, a vehicle propelled under water, a homemade computer, a web site programmed so the user could remotely drive a robot, repurposed drill batteries used to power a drivable robot.

A number of group projects resulted in interactive exhibits: two homemade video arcade machines providing classic games like Pong and Pac Man, a space invaders game, and a pair of remote-controlled robots for fair-goers to try driving through a maze. Two Battle Bots tournaments were held, a double-elimination contest where the winning robot pushed its opponent out of the arena. The Bots were all original designs. You may have purchased a cold bottle of water from the remote-controlled traveling water bottle vendor, Aqua Bot. It was built on the chassis of an old motorized wheel chair, used a vending machine bill feeder, an Arduino microcontroller, and contained 3-D printer-fabricated internal parts for dispensing the bottles.

In addition to their dedication to robotics projects, Robostorm members are also active in the 4-H community. The club’s entry in the annual Pumpkin Junction scarecrow contest, “Bumblebee”, was last year’s winner. Many enjoyed the Halloween tailgate festivities. Most of Robostorm’s members competed in the annual Public Presentations contest, and one continued to the state contest. Our bakers made goodies for several 4-H sponsored events. Robostorm’s club members held a successful Lego sales fundraiser at the fair, raising money to donate to two local charities. The club also volunteers each year to help with trail maintenance at Raritan Township’s Morales Nature Preserve. Robostorm is proud that several of its members pursue additional community service opportunities on their own.

Being a club of only 3-1/2 years, the Robostorm 4-H Robotics Club hopes to continue providing a creative outlet for Hunterdon STEM fans. With the growing interest from Hunterdon families, as was apparent during the fair, we would be happy to assist anyone who is inspired and motivated to start another robotics club.

May, 2014 Club News by Sam K.


During winter and spring, Robostorm Robotics worked on a lot of projects. Aquabot 2.0, is an improvement on last year’s water bottle dispensing robot, Aquabot. Aquabot 2.0 will have a moneychanger, and when it retrieves money, it will determine what to do on its own by running through a flowchart. Other projects were Java programming, HTML classes, and Arduino classes. The Arduino and Java classes were to prepare for Aquabot 2.0.

In November, the club helped out with cleaning up the trails at the Morales Nature Preserve Park. During December, Robostorm sold many crafts and utilized its 3-D printer to print out 4-H clovers. At the fair this year, the club will have an Arcade-themed tent designed by its members and the whole club is in full swing getting it ready!

November, 2013 Club News by Sam K.


This year at the fair, Robostorm unveiled its most worked-on project: Aqua-bot, a robot that dispenses water bottles. It was driven by members of the club and used LEGO parts and sensors to take dollar bills and dispense bottles. Robostorm also had its first robot competition, Battlebots, which drew many fairgoers into the Robotics tent. One of the robots competing was a robot called Java, which was programmed to defeat its opponent without any human interaction.

On October 26th, the day of the Trunk or Treat, Robostorm had a trunk decorated with an angry robot. Robostorm members made it out of wood, metal, screws, and paper. The trunk was also decorated with gravestones and metal teeth. In the upcoming months, we will have opportunities to learn HTML website programming, Arduino, video game building, and how to disassemble electronics.

 

 
 
 
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