I competed in the 2012 Minnesota Science Olympiad. I participated in both the Robot Arm and Gravity Vehicle events, but I am most proud of my work on the Robot Arm. I had to (got to) do the Robot Arm on my own since our team had only 11 people, but I did Gravity Vehicle with a partner. Her name was Meghann. We did decently at Gravity Vehicle, but neither of us were entirely sure how to make it really good instead of just above average.

I designed my robot arm completely from scratch, using:

  • Arduino Mega (RadioShack didn't have an Uno)
  • Spektrum DX6i 2.4Ghz transmitter and receiver
  • 5 servos, including one that received no power and acted only as a hinge
  • Lots of stuff from lynxmotion.com, including a force-sensing resistor to stop the claw from grabbing too hard and burning out the servo (I burned out two servos before I figured this out, though)
  • Breadboard and wires
  • 10K Ω resistor
  • Wood (Yellow Pine arm, Maple base, and an unknown type of wood for the dowels in the base)
  • Metal (Aluminum beams and steel axles)

I got 2nd place at the MN State competition for the Robot Arm event. Our team got 4th place overall despite not having a full team, which is "the highest a team with less than 15 students has placed." How big that pool for "highest" is, I don't know, but it's quite good regardless. Our teachers were really proud of us, which was really nice.

Here's a short video of the controls I used on it.

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