Friday, 24 August 2012
So my 5 year old daughter and I have been looking at pictures coming back from the mars Curiosity rover and also we've watched the videos of the landing etc. She's really into it and has lots of questions...one aspect that she found a bit difficult to get her head around was how the pictures get back from mars. So...in effort to explain (and also completely for my own amusement) I made the quickest Rover ever from a piece of double sided tape, an old RC rock crawling truck I'd been saving thinking it might make a good robot base and a cheap wireless security camera (17quid ebay).
It was great, I hooked the receiver up to the little 4" monitor I've been using for my raspberry pi and we drove the wee beastie around for a while. She really started picking up on the facts of radio wave propagation (ie you drive the model behind the metal filing cabinet and the signal goes a bit funny) and she understood that the Rover was sending and receiving different types of data...brilliant...
My daughter has already forgotten all about the car/camera...but I keep thinking about improvements....pan and tilt camera platform, autonomous navigation, obstacle sensing/avoidance, robotic grabber....must resist another project!!