In the two weeks that they were here, Arlo and Matthew designed and built a working drawing robot. They went through many different iterations and prototypes until arriving on a final product; the technology that the team used included four motors and an Arduino micro controller.
Their first idea was to have a robot which walked around using pens for legs, like a spider. They envisioned that the robot would modify the drawing by changing up the direction and speed that each of its legs move. The team started by sketching out their idea and planning how they would make their robot. After a lot of thought they decided that trying to make a robot walk like a spider would be too much work for two people to do in only two weeks, so they went back to the drawing board.
The next Idea that they came up with was to have a square-based robot with four downward facing motors. Each of these motos would have a drawing utensil stuck to the bottom of it. This drawing utensil would draw a pattern when the motor would run. They team started building the robot by first cutting out a square base and zip-tying a motor on each corner. Next they wired each of the motors to an Arduino which they put in the middle of the base. They then proceeded to program each of the motors to move in the same direction.
When trying out the robot the team realized that it did not move very well so they brainstormed ways that they could improve the movement. They hoped that if they would attach larger disks to the motors it would be able to get more traction and move the robot faster. The team tried out the theory and it worked!
The next step in the process was to start making drawings. At first the team tried taping large pieces of chalk to the disks on the bottom of the motors. When they tested it the lines that the chalk made were not dark enough to see. Since that did not work they tried using charcoal sticks. Charcoal sticks worked a lot better but they only could draw with black. The team decided that using oil pastels would be the best way to draw so they ordered them.
Next the team worked on making the robot look nicer. The first thing they did was re-cut the square base of the robot bigger. They then wanted to make a top for the robot. They brainstormed and came up with two final ideas - a pyramid cover and a rectangular prism cover. After some thought they picked the rectangular prism cover because it would have more volume than the pyramid.
The final thing they needed to do was experiment making different drawings. The team had three different variables that they could modify to make different drawings and those were; speed of motor, direction of motor, and color of pastels.
Arlo and Matthew ended up making many cool different drawings and they learned a lot about programming and design. The presentation and demonstration of the robot went well. Arlo and Matthew were proud of the robot that they created.