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'Make Your Own Robot' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/

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What is a robot?  Robotic devices are anything which we make to take over a job which is boring, repetitive or dangerous to humans.  Start by doing a 'robot walk' round your classroom - what can you see which has been invented by humans to make life easier, quicker or safer?  

You can make a simple robot from everyday materials.

Equipment needed:

  • two pencils
  • two rulers
  • two cotton reels
  • rubber bands
  • one electric motor
  • one battery holder

Making your robot

Stage 1:  if you are using long rubber bands, double them up; if you are using small ones, use several.

stage 1 in making a robot

Stage 2:  the rubber bands need to provide a firm fixing, so they need to be tight.

stage 2 in making a robot

Stage 3:  use the rubber band fixing technique to construct a basic unit that looks like the one below.

third stage in making a robot

Stage 4:  attach the electric motor and battery holder with blu-tak or plasticene.  The rubber drive band to the cotton reel needs to be only slightly tight.

fourth stage in making a robot

Stage 5:  when the electric motor is connected to the battery, the cotton reel should rotate.  The basic unit can be made to imitate a robot buggy.  It can also imitate the winding drum for a robotic lift, the drum of a washing machine, and lots of other robotic devices.

Stage 6:  once you've got your robotic buggy going, see what you can find out about it.  How far can it go?  How fast can it go?  If you make a few of them, you could race them!