Using a multitude of engineering techniques and mediums, Engineering II students designed, manufactured and coded automata toys. An automata toy is a mechanical object that uses hand-powered or automatic mechanisms to create movement of characters in a scene. Each group chose a theme and design for their toy such as “Finding Nemo,” “The Wizard of Oz,” ballet dancers, cats playing instruments and more. When each group was finished, their toys spun and moved up and down using gears and an Arduino board to power them.
This project highlights the machinery available for students to use and encourages students to learn different engineering techniques. For this project, students designed and 3-D printed gear mechanisms, used a table saw to cut their toy structures and dowels, created lighting displays for the scene’s background with LED lights and circuits, coded the movements of their characters with their laptops and Arduino boards, and put on the finishing touches with markers and paint. In the end, each group displayed their working toys with a dynamic scene and moving characters.