From bits ,to bytes , bots .

A 10-day (3 hrs./day) educational experience, at the Science Museum of Minnesota's Learning Technologies, July 10-21, 2000.

Schedule of activities:

Day 1 -- July 10:  We've begun.  Meet our 8 (a byte) students. Day 2 -- July 11:  lots of progress with the Light-bytes.  Geyser-bot played several new patterns, created by the students.  Toward the end of the period, we switched gears, and began breadboarding the stepper motor circuit.  Morgan demonstrated his program for controlling stream height by pulsing the pumps using variable on and off times-- pulse width modulation (PWM). Day 3 -- July 12:  finished breadboarding the single stepper.  Quickly moved on to adding the second stepper.  Casualties encountered:  two 5804b chips fried (truly)!  Valuable lessons learned.  Then, after the break, we began building egg-bot. Day 4 -- July 13:  everyone threw themselves into the task at hand-- completing the assembly of their eggbot.  After the mid-period break, we took a brief field trip into the museum to check out the science-related sculptures.  Upon our return, the students got into trying to plot on billiard balls (practice eggs). Original programming and designs are being hatched!  At the end of the day, a small army of egg-bots is stowed. Day 5 -- July 16:  the learning curve is steep to begin with, but all the students are making progress.  Examples: 1, 2, 3

Weekend break

Day 6 -- July 17:   Brent has written a QBASIC program that not only allows the user to use the arrow keys on the numeric keypad to guide egg-bot's path, but it also writes a file of these moves for later feed back!  A first example... and his later creation.

Day 7 -- July 18:   Brent has refined his drawing program so that it now runs as a single unit-- to be called Brentdraw (BRENTDR.BAS), and has shared it with the students, who are making good use of it.  Dan M. has written a similar program, which generates new QBASIC code to guide the eggbot path.
Several XY-type devices demonstrated:  Etchasketch-bot, the Ovagraph (high resolution egg-bot), and Sisyphus' motors and mechanics examined.  With some help, Sisyphus has been erected and awaits sand... Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 home
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Copyright © 2000 Bruce Shapiro