MeArm update – Work in progress.

Here’s an update of what we’ve been up to in the last 4 weeks of STEM club.

Team MeArm.

We initially built the excellent MeArm from a phenoptix kit, priced £29.99. It’s a nice robot with 4 degrees of freedom, that can be controlled via Arduino, Rasberry Pi, Beaglebone etc.  We managed to get it working really nicely with a Raspberry Pi and ScratchGPIO, Simon Walter’s excellent version of Scratch for the Pi.   The challenge for the group is to control the arm using Python.  It was suggested to use a Wii Nunchuk, or perhaps a Microsoft Kinect, but early experiments have suggested that keyboard input is challenging enough!

Robots building robots.  Skynet!
Progress on our MeArm build. The kit version is in the background, and our JCB yellow in the foreground.  We’re about 2 weeks away from movement control!

Once the robot is mechanically sound, and the servo positions are set, then we should be able to connect it via I2C using the Adafruit 16 channel Servo I2C board.  Once this is done, then we’ll release the python geeks, and let them run wild with their programming and imagination.

Taking Homework to the Next Level.

Ella's incredible piece of work showing the magnetic field lines in 3D around a bar magnet.
Ella’s incredible piece of work showing the magnetic field lines in 3D around a bar magnet.

Year 7 student Ella Lewis prodcuced an incredible piece of home learning for Mr Fairweather’s Physics homework (Make a model of a magnet).  Working with her father, she has used a variety of techniques that work exceptionally well in combination.

The best thing about this is that it forms an amazing teaching resource  –   I’d use this to teach about magnetic field lines at KS3/4 as it’s so immediate and clear, better than any diagram, experiment or simulation I’ve ever used in the classroom.

Perhaps she will find the time to put up some build instructions or an instructable to help other students to do the same.

My only wish would be to have two, so you could get students to imagine what would happen if you bought them pole to pole!