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Robot War by Karl

I build robots that battle against other bots. One of my first bots was TurboGnome. It faired well in its matches, but my last competitor defeated TurboGnome pretty badly. I wondered: How could I build and design a robot that had a more effective weapon?

What did we do?
Over a month, I built a new robot based on my own designs. My goal was to design a bot that powered its own weapon. I designed two weapons for my new bot and then did some experiments to find out which one caused more damage to an unsuspecting pumpkin. I measured how far the ten biggest pumpkin chunks flew for each weapon.

What did we find out?
The first weapon, a lawn mower blade, worked great. It threw pumpkin chunks an average of 27 feet! The second weapon, a star-shaped blade, smashed the pumpkin into a pulp. The guts didn't fly as far and the weight of that weapon wore the batteries out too fast. I decided I'd use the lawn mower blade weapon in my next match, but I lost. But designing is never over, so I work hard to make my bot better.

What can you do?
  • Karl knows so much about bot building that he teaches a class on it after school. There are a lot of classes you can take on engineering, designing robots or other things. If you're interested, try searching online for design classes or robot clubs in your city.
  • Designing a good test is as challenging as designing a new invention. If you were a car maker, what tests would you use to evaluate the car's performance? Develop a set of tests for some toy cars and rate the cars according to their performance.
  • What other things do you design? Model cars, model airplanes, Lego buildings, or circuit boards? What design features do you try to improve on?
  • Use this robot investigation as a science fair project idea for your elementary or middle school science fair! Then tell us about it!
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What famous inventor wrote instructions for making stink bombs?

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