Robotics II Students Build Their Own “Roombas”

At the end of the second trimester, students in Robotics II were tasked with solving a common problem with a robot. After brainstorming, the two students in the class ultimately looked no further than their classrooms, labs and hallways. A common problem they saw was small pieces of paper, dust or fuzz being left around the school after engineering classes, art projects, etc. The students came up with the solution to create their own “Roomba” to clean up the school. 
A Roomba is an automated vacuum that navigates a household on its own to clean the floors. While the students initially thought about attaching a small vacuum to their robots, robotics teacher Katie Jergens steered them away from this direction for time, functionality and equipment purposes. Instead, the students took inspiration from a lint roller, adding a replaceable line of tape on the front of their robot to pick up small scraps around the classroom and hallway. 
The students began building their own prototype using a VEX robot, a roll of duct tape and even 3-D printing a structural piece for the tape to roll around. After building the robot, one student went as far to as automate the robot to move on its own, coding the robot to move back and forth in lines like a traditional vacuum. Both robots were also able to move using a remote control, picking up all debris in their paths. 
In the end, the science and engineering labs were left with two working robots with the ability to clean up around the lab or in the hallway after class. This project allowed Robotics II students to put into practice their building and coding skills for their robots, while also connecting their work to solving a problem for their bigger community. 

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