On January 20, members from the CRW team went to Hampton Cove Middle school in Huntsville, Alabama to present a workshop to the students on sensors and radios. This workshop was chosen because the students are currently using EV3 programming and sensors for their own robots. The CRW team wanted to show the students that what they are doing now could actually be used in the real world.
The CRW team pre-programmed 2 Raspberry Pis with corresponding sensors or buttons for the students to use. The students were able to observe the code and how it worked, while they controlled the sensors. The different components that the students were able to use were a buzzer, flashing LEDs, light sensor, and a rotary angle sensor (potentiometer). Through this, the students were able to learn the basics of programming behind each component and how it might be used in the real world. The students loved the light sensor and trying to get it to read 0 – meaning no light was able to be detected, as well as the things that made noise.
In addition to experimenting with the Raspberry Pi components, the students were also able to experiment with Xbee radios. There were 2 radios linked to each other via the computer and placed on opposite ends of the room. The students were able to use the computer and the radios to send messages to each other. They learned about how their messages were being sent in hexidecimal code and other uses for the Xbee radios; such as being used as a GPS system – like the team uses on the rocket. The team also talked about how NASA uses radios to talk to their rovers and how it takes longer because the rovers are much further away. This was a big hit with the students because their messages were being sent in real-time, so when they tried to talk at the same time it became gibberish – which they got a kick out of.
The mentors/educators of the students were able to talk to members of the CRW team about how the team is using similar components on our rocket. The mentors also were able to learn about what CRW is and what we do and how what the students are doing now for their robots can be translated to the real world.