Wobblebots and Engineering Design
Design is not how it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
Apr 19, Jun 21
All of us know how to walk. Yet it is always amazing to see a machine walk like a human being (because this is not easy!). This is the reason why students in prestigious global universities who are interested in the area of robotics, engineering and design spend hours designing and making ‘passive walkers’- mechanisms that walk down a ramp, powered only by gravity (also called ‘Ramp Walkers’). Designing and analyzing the motion of passive walkers allows these engineers and scientists to understand various aspects involved in designing robot locomotion. The objectives of this course are to help any student interested in tinkering, making and building things to develop a process of thinking and problem solving that is useful. This skill is useful in many areas- not just in engineering!
In this course, you will design and make your own ramp walkers and wobblebots (guess how they move!), by following an incremental learning process. This learning process will use the principles of engineering design; principles which are common to engineering simple everyday objects as well as complex, cutting edge inventions. The course is also a fun way to learn about concepts such as stability, equilibrium, balance and locomotion. Students will work hands-on and tinker with paper, cardboard and wood to design and make moving toys or robots. Some of these mechanisms will be powered purely by gravity and some will be powered using small electric motors. Initial designs will be enhanced and refined to check how performance changes Towards the end of the course, students will also look at how more sophisticated movement is possible through the use of sensors and microcontrollers. Yes, you can engineer it and we will choreograph your Ramp Walking!
Through the activities in the course, students will develop hands-on skills in working with tools and materials and confidence in their ability to design mechanisms, test and refine them. They will learn how to sketch designs, brainstorm with others, work in teams and share and take responsibility. They will also understand concepts in Physics like Center of Gravity/ Mass, Forces and Movement and Rest, Stability, Equilibrium.