NASA TETRIX Projects

About

What Are We Doing?:
Supported by a NASA grant, our goal is to further scientific development and understanding in middle school classrooms by using TETRIX, a  metal education kit that meshes with LEGO Mindstorms (NXT).  In order to accomplish this goal, we are building a set of three interconnected project; each project being worked on by a pair of students.

Group 1: The Carrier
Sarah Hall-Swan and Briyana Willis
Our original idea was to build a rover that could scout for other rovers and then deploy them to inspect areas it can’t.  We decided it would pair with the Axel Rover to find craters and then deploy that rover when it does.  Our final design is to create a Carrier Robot.  It is to be built out of TETRIX and is to store 4-5 LEGO Mindstorm minirobots, which will be built by middle schoolers.  When the Carrier finds terrain it can’t navigate, such as narrow cracks, it will lower a ramp and send these minirobots out.  When they are low on batteries or otherwise ready to return, they will reenter the Carrier, which will store/analyze the data they’ve collected and recharge the minirobots.  Since the Carrier has a flat top; a solar panel on top will provide extra power (not in the current version).

Group 2: Axel Rover
Jess Belanger and Lawrence Hixon
Having looked through many rover designs, we decided that we wanted to emulate NASA/JPL’s Axel Rover with TETRIX.  Their Axel Rover is designed to be as simple as possible, using just three motors and still being able to traverse all kinds of terrain; in particular craters, which most other robots have issues with.  Also, the robot uses paddles, that are attached to it’s hoop-like wheels, to traverse rough terrain such as over boulders and cracks.  It can travel on it’s own (it can even be deployed from a balloon floating above it), either by remote or autonomously.  This robot would also work well with the other projects; if “The Carrier” approaches a crater that it’s minibots can’t handle, it would deploy the Axel Rover to explore it.


Group 3: iPad Controller
Nicolas Fuchs and Dean Zou
We decided to create a controller which would practically control the other two projects but would ultimately be able to simultaneously control nine robots.  The major issue when creating a rover is the signal time lag.  Sending commands from Earth to a different planet  and even whilst still on the same planet causes a significant lag, making physical controllers, with movement input coming manually from a joystick, useless.  Therefore, we decided to create a controller that has exact values for movement, such as 15 degree left turn or 35 second forward movement.

Who Are We?/Why Are We Doing This:

Howdy.  My name is Jess Belanger, and I’m a 16/17 year old from Lowell.  I have a dog, who I enjoy immensly and am a memver of my school’s Robotics team: the Innovation Academy Charter School “Be Kind” Freedom Low Riders.  Typically I’m doing a lot of homework to survive studenthood, but when I’m not, I enjoy reading and making youtube videos/drinking Moxie with my friends, and spend an inordinate amount of time with my computer.

I decided to try out this internship because I heard about it through my robotics teacher and thought it seemed like an adequate way to both pursue my interests in engineering/science and gain experience of the real world variety.  I hope to attend college for engineering and become an engineer, so this seemed like a good expansion beyond the classroom to experience the field.  I haven’t yet decided what sort of engineer I’d want to be, but my interest in sciences spreads throughout my academic life and personal interests.

My name is Sarah Hall-Swan and I am 15 years old.  I chose to do this program because I like technology and I am interested in engineering.  My dad told me about this program and I thought that it would be fun to do.  I have always been interested in engineering because I like to figure out and learn how things work.  I like to solve all sorts of puzzles because of the challenges they present.

I am Lawrence Hixon and I’m an incoming Senior at Stoughton High School.  I’ve never really had that much of an interest in engineering until this year.  My Uncle is an engineer and when he exposed me to engineering by telling me about the things he has made and is making, I was interested right away.  Later, when my teacher asked me what I want to be in life, I told her I don’t know but engineering seems highly interesting.  She then signed me up for honors engineering for the next year.  I am so excited for the class and when she realized it she brought up this internship for me and showed me the application for it.  I promptly got to working on my essay for it because I was excited and wanted to get a start on engineering as soon as possible and I knew this was my chance so I went for it.  Robotics is interesting but I’m hoping to experience all types of engineering later in my life.

Hi, I am Briyana Willis and I’ll be a Junior next year.  I chose to be in this program because my mother got me interested in robotics.  I utilized the opportunity of joining her in the classes she took on robotics.  I also have been building robots, such as motor vehicles with LEGOs, which I enjoy doing.

I am Dean Zou and I am an upcoming Junior at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School.  I enjoy playing basketball in my free time and I also like to build airplane models.  I applied for this internship because I wanted to learn more about technology and gain more experience using these technologies. Not only will I be learning through this internship, but I will ultimately be allowing middle schoolers to also develop an interest in science and technology.

My name is Nicolas Fuchs and I am an upcoming Senior at Tufts University, majoring in Engineering Science (biology subfocus) and German.  In my spare time I enjoy game level design, Sudoku, reading, and designing LEGO creations.  By supervising/teaching high school interns I hope to further my experience working on the educational side of robotics whilst also advancing my programming and TETRIX knowledge.

Who Are We?/Why Are We Doing This:

Howdy. My name is Jess Belanger, and I’m a 16/17 year old from Lowell. I have a dog, who I enjoy immensly and am a memver of my school’s Robotics team: the Innovation Academy Charter School “Be Kind” Freedom Low Riders. Typically I’m doing a lot of homework to survive studenthood, but when I’m not, I enjoy reading and making youtube videos/drinking Moxie with my friends, and spend an inordinate amount of time with my computer.

I decided to try out this internship because I heard about it through my robotics teacher and thought it seemed like an adequate way to both pursue my interests in engineering/science and gain experience of the real world variety. I hope to attend college for engineering and become an engineer, so this seemed like a good expansion beyond the classroom to experience the field. I haven’t yet decided what sort of engineer I’d want to be, but my interest in sciences spreads throughout my academic life and personal interests.

My name is Sarah Hall-Swan and I am 15 years old. I chose to do this program because I like technology and I am interested in engineering. My dad told me about this program and I thought that it would be fun to do. I have always been interested in engineering because I like to figure out and learn how things work. I like to solve all sorts of puzzles because of the challenges they present.

I am Lawrence Hixon and I’m an incoming Senior at Stoughton High School. I’ve never really had that much of an interest in engineering until this year. My Uncle is an engineer and when he exposed me to engineering by telling me about the things he has made and is making, I was interested right away. Later, when my teacher asked me what I want to be in life, I told her I don’t know but engineering seems highly interesting. She then signed me up for honors engineering for the next year. I am so excited for the class and when she realized it she brought up this internship for me and showed me the application for it. I promptly got to working on my essay for it because I was excited and wanted to get a start on engineering as soon as possible and I knew this was my chance so I went for it. Robotics is interesting but I’m hoping to experience all types of engineering later in my life.

Hi, I am Briyana Willis. I chose to be in this program because my mother got me interested in robotics. I utilized the opportunity of joining her in the classes she took on robotics. I also have been building robots, such as motor vehicles with LEGOs, which I enjoy doing.

I am Dean Zou and I am an upcoming Junior at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. I enjoy playing basketball in my free time and I also like to build airplane models. I applied for this internship because I wanted to learn more about technology and gain more experience using these technologies. Not only will I be learning through this internship, but I will ultimately be allowing middle schoolers to also develop an interest in science and technology.

I am Nicolas Fuchs and I am an upcoming Senior at Tufts University, majoring in Engineering Science (biology subfocus) and German. In my spare time I enjoy game level design, Sudoku, reading, and designing LEGO creations. By supervising/teaching high school interns I hope to


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