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The Top Five Unexpected Benefits of Robotics in the Classroom

As teachers, we’re well aware that STEM education is essential in preparing students for today’s world of non-stop innovation. In my 13 years of teaching I’ve seen many curriculum fads come and go, but the use of robotics in the classroom has proven to be a consistent and surefire way to teach students the STEM skills needed to prepare them for the future job market. I’ve seen firsthand how it teaches students 21st-century skills including coding, engineering and the scientific method in a fun and engaging way. However, there are so many other incredible things that I’ve watched my students…

Free and Open Source alternatives for commercial softwares

Commercial Software Similar Opensource Download Link License Used where MATLAB Scilab http://www.scilab.org/products/scilab/download CeCILL Engineering (Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Electronics, Embedded systems, Chemical), Science (Physics, Mathematics) Mathematica Maxima http://maxima.sourceforge.net/download.html GPL Mathematics, Engineering Cadence pSpice ngspice http://ngspice.sourceforge.net/download.html BSD Engineering (Electrical, Electronics, Embedded systems) Microsoft Office Open office http://download.openoffice.org/ LGPL All branches Microsoft Office LaTeX http://www.latex‐project.org/ftp.html LPPL All branches Mathematica/Maple Sage http://www.sagemath.org/download.html GPL Precise arithmetic, algebra, symbolic computation Microsoft Windows GNU/Linux http://www.gnu.org/software/software.html GPL All branches Turbo C GCC http://gcc.gnu.org/releases.html GPL Engineering (Introductory Computing – all branches) Pro/E BRL-CAD http://brlcad.org/d/download BSD Engineering (CAD) MASM NASM, FASM http://www.nasm.us/pub/nasm/releasebuilds http://flatassembler.net/download.php BSD, BSD Engineering (Electronics, Computer Science) MS…

Educational Robots Help Build STEM Skills

UBTECH Robotics has launched a new line of Jimu Robot kits designed to enhance the STEM skills and interest of kids ages 8-14. The Buzzbot and Muttbot Kit, Explorer Kit and Inventor Kit allow kids to build robots such as penguins, rhinos, elephants and humanoids. The programming is done with Blockly code in the companion Jimu Robot App.     There’s also an online Jimu community, UBTECH says, where kids can share their creations and check out what other users have created. There will be instructions on how to build, program and control Jimu Robots in both the online community…

20% of All Vacuums are Robots

From a sales standpoint, robot vacuums are the most successful consumer robot ever. Robot vacuums have certainly simplified, not quite eliminated, one of the most daunting household chores: cleaning. So the success makes sense.     But just how popular are robot vacuums? At TechCrunch Beijing, iRobot CEO Colin Angle said 20 percent of the world’s vacuum cleaners are robots. Of those that are robots, 70 percent are from iRobot, which has sold 14 million Roombas to date.   As Angle said, iRobot “has a long lead in terms of working on the problem, and because it’s focused on consumer…

Self-Driving Bicycle

The University of Washington Bothell is building a self-driving bicycle that can travel 30 MPH with a 15-mile range. The team claims the self-driving bicycle “could get riders from A to B faster than a self-driving car, and at a tenth of the cost.”     The self-driving bicycle is based on a stack of five Arduinos with no operating system. The open-source documentation and C/C++ code can be found on GitHub. The self-driving bicycle has object recognition that’s based on an array of sonar range finders. Here’s more from Folsom on how the self-driving bicycle sees its environment: “Localization…

Self-Driving Scooter Helps Mobility-impaired People Get Around

Researchers at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the National University of Singapore have developed a self-driving scooter that uses the same sensors and software that had been used in previous autonomous car and golf cart tests.     Here’s the idea. Self-driving cars can only transport a mobility-impaired person part of the way – from their home to a mall, let’s say. How would that person get around the mall? That’s where a self-driving scooter comes into play. The researchers say the self-driving scooter works just as well indoors as it does outdoors.   “We were…

LEDS AND LIGHTING CLASS

There are many ways to produce light and dispel the darkness of night. In this class, we will go over some of the most popular means of doing so. Covering methods as diverse as light bulbs, LEDs, LED strips, and EL wire, this class provides a crash course on the subject of electric lighting. No prior experience of electronics is necessary to get started. However, if you do have some previous experience, this class also has optional sections for advanced students which briefly covers Arduino-control. I hope you will join me and make things that shine above the rest. Enroll…

LASER CUTTING CLASS

The Laser Cutter is every maker’s dream tool. Whether you want to etch detailed graphics, cut intricate patterns, or fabricate complex 3D objects, this tool will make your life much easier. In this class, you’ll get started with a box-making web app, you’ll and then learn the basics of custom cutting and pattern etching with 2D graphics. Towards the end of the class,you’ll learn how to make CAD designs into 3D objects in Fusion 360– an awesome (and free) 3D modeling program. Whether you’ve got access to a laser cutter or not, this class will teach you everything you need…

ELECTRONICS CLASS

While it may seem intimidating at first, learning electronics is fun and easy. In the first three lessons I introduce new tools, skills and concepts. In the remainder of the class, a new electronic component is introduced in each lesson. In addition to providing an overview of an important aspect of electronics, each lesson concludes with a project. This allows you to learn about basic electronics in a hands-on manner. I hope you will take the time and come build a circuit with me. Enroll to get: 11 lessons accessible anytime, anywhere Learn by doing with hours of project focused…

Stereolithography (SLA) Technology

Stereolithography (SLA) models offer the most accurate type of fit/form prototype for the verification of any design before committing to your chosen production route. Its high accuracy and good surface finish makes it the preferred choice for designer models, engineering verification and master patterns for silicone rubber molds.   SLA is often considered the pioneer of the additive manufacturing processes,  with the first production systems introduced in 1988 and patented by 3D systems founder Charles (Chuck) W. Hull. The SLA process utilizes a vat of liquid photopolymer resin cured by ultraviolet laser to solidify the pattern layer by layer to create or…

Additive Manufacturing – Direct Metal Laser Sintering DMLS Technology

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) was developed jointly by Rapid Product Innovations (RPI) and EOS GmbH, starting in 1994, as the first commercial rapid prototyping method to produce metal parts in a single process. With DMLS, metal powder (20 micron diameter), free of binder or fluxing agent, is completely melted by the scanning of a high power laser beam to build the part with properties of the original material. Eliminating the polymer binder avoids the burn-off and infiltration steps, and produces a 95% dense steel part compared to roughly 70% density with Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). An additional benefit of…

What purpose does the small cylindrical module near the end of my laptop charger cable serve?

They are called ferrite beads/EMI filters/ferrite chokes and contain the semi-magnetic substance Ferrite made from iron oxide (rust) alloyed with other metals . Usually seen on power chords, laptop charging cables and other electronic devices such as  printers and medical equipment. Any conductive cable acts as an antenna – if the device produces radio frequency energy, this can be transmittedthrough the cable, which acts as an unintentional radiator. What do the beads do? They prevent the cable from sending/recieveing signals. It has the property of eliminating the broadcast signals. Essentially, it “chokes” the RFI (Radio Frequency Interfearence) transmission at that point on the cable —…

How do Wind Turbines work ?

Working of a wind turbine is illustrated in this video with the help of animation. The topic covered are blade design, use of brake, velocity sensor, yawing mechanism, blade tilting, wind turbine efficiency and Betz’s limit.    

Diesel Engine, How it works ?

Diesel engines are the most versatile IC Engines. With help of animation working of Diesel engine is elaborately explained in this video. Here the basic construction of diesel engine, its working and mechanical design aspects are covered. Starting from working of single cylinder diesel engine, working of a four cylinder engine is logically explained here.    

Petrol (Gasoline) Engine vs Diesel Engine

Have you ever wondered why there exists 2 different engines, Diesel and Petrol (Gasoline) ?. This video is aimed at giving a logical illustration of differences and advantages of diesel and petrol engines. It also answers the questions like, what if I put petrol into a diesel engine or vice versa.    

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