• Question: What is the best thing you got a robot to do?

    Asked by Orla ☺ to Conor, Frederik, Ilaria, Jeffrey, Sarah on 8 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Jeffrey Roe

      Jeffrey Roe answered on 8 Mar 2016:

      I would love a robot to clean my house. 🙂 But the best thing I got a robot to do for me is follow a line. 😛 I don’t realy make useful robots like Conor. I make more fun things like a giant duck robot or a hovercraft

    • Photo: Conor McGinn

      Conor McGinn answered on 8 Mar 2016:

      The robot I built at NASA was pretty awesome actually because it was able to get really useful data for determining the rate at which global warming takes place. To my knowledge, the data it generated has really helped scientists understand global warming better.
      Some background – weather records don’t go that far back. So its really hard to tell if the temperature patterns the earth is experiencing is man made, or has been experienced before. However like reading the bark on a tree – we can get lots of information from reading the layers in the ice. The ice we need to read is sometimes 2miles deep so its not really possible to cut it out. And it can be really hard to know if a given reading is accurate – or whether the sensor we used might have had a poor reading (interference from bedrock etc). Also the ice is typically in the north and south poles, or places like Greenland that are basically continents containing little more than ice – they are ridiculously inhospitable!
      How scientists usually take these readings is by either mounting the sensor on a plane and flying over land or by mounting it to the back of a ski-mobile and driving around. Neither of these is ideal as in the first case there are lots of errors (taking any measurement when you are travelling at 100+mph is extremely problematic) and the distance a person can travel in a snow mobile is extremely limited in places like Greenland before they run out of fuel and food.
      Our robot was designed to roam autonomously for 1 month in these conditions during the summer. At this time – there is 23hrs of sun in the day so the robot runs fully from solar power. It can go much further than a person can travel on skimobile. As it moved it logged info on a hard-drive and sent readings back via satellite link. Unlike the plane, we could really accurately pinpoint the earth coordinates where the readings took place.

    • Photo: Frederik Gossen

      Frederik Gossen answered on 9 Mar 2016:

      I got my lego robot to follow a line. The best robot I did so far recognizes the position and the orientation of your face 😉