Their story, in their words….
“For a long time our team has had an interest in engineering and the world of physics, so when we were offered the chance to test the skills and knowledge we had acquired during our time at school, we knew that we had to take the opportunity. We decided to build a robot arm as it felt like a suitable challenge to undertake. It was not impossible with the skills we currently have, yet not exactly the simplest of tasks. This project would also further our understanding of what we already knew and help us develop our practical skills.
The arm consists of 4 servos rotating around pivots in the acrylic frame, connected to a microcontroller situated in the base of the arm which would then be connected to a computer to allow us to send commands to the servos from there. It was an interesting process as we had had no instruction on how the arm should be built and forced to research and apply what we already knew to get the arm to function. During its creation we encountered several problems which set us back quite a bit, such as several components not working correctly, having difficulties with ordering the materials we needed, and even one member quitting the project which made the process much longer and more difficult than before. However, we persevered through the hardships and were able to finish building the arm.
The main difficulty we encountered during the project was learning how to program the servos so that they would we move in a specific sequence. We found software that would allow us to use pre-set commands which would essentially give us limited control of the arm without having to manually input commands.
In conclusion the project has been a fruitful endeavour as it was an exciting challenge to overcome and a very joyful experience. The obstacles we encountered such as juggling the strain of school work with the project was a healthy test of our ability to manage our time effectively. It has also given us confidence in the skills we developed over the course of the project and the skills we already had. We are extremely grateful to the Mark Evison Foundation for providing us with this wonderful opportunity.”