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Our First Experience with the PASCObot

Coming out of our second year of Engineering at the University of Guelph, we have a newly developed appreciation for working with laboratory equipment. Having missed out on much of our in-person labs throughout first year due to the pandemic, we have truly enjoyed being able to interact with the lab equipment this school year in our Fluid Mechanics and Material Science Courses.

This past week, we got to unbox and assemble PASCO’s new PASCObot Sense and Control Kit, giving us an introduction to robotics and simple block coding. We started by assembling the PASCObot body using the instructions. The assembly consisted of screwing on the High Speed Stepper Motors and the wheels. This was followed by plugging in the wires of the motors to the //control.node, screwing in the hold-down and the top frame as shown. The instructions were easy to follow and the box contained everything needed including the screwdriver. Within the kit, there are multiples attachments designed for different applications and activities.

The first attachment we tested was the Gripper, shown in the photo on the left, which consists of two servo motors which attached to the //control.node. These motors allowed the Gripper to open and close its jaws as well as angle them up or down according to the given code. This was an interesting experiment that demonstrated several experimental applications of the PASCObot. For instance, setting up the code was quite simple. In the instructions, it explains how to get started with SPARKvue. The //control.node connects to the software using Bluetooth. The code is presented in a block-like manner, each instruction being in the shape of a puzzle piece. All you have to do is drag one of the puzzle pieces from the Code tool or import them from the PASCO code library, connecting them from top to bottom in the order you want them to function. Each block/puzzle piece states exactly what you want it to do. For example, to make the PASCObot move forward 50 cm, you would select the block “moveADistance with: _ cm” from the PASCO code library and type 50. Students may need a demonstration on how to navigate the code tool however, we were able to figure it out quickly, without having any previous experience with SPARKvue.

This inspired us to film a short clip in which the PASCObot would move a certain distance, turn left, grab a cup of water, turn right, and bring this cup to us. We started by measuring and marking a course then coding the robot using the measurements taken, as shown in the image on the right. We were able to successfully complete this task without spilling any water, and this allowed us to become more familiar with the system.

We then moved on to using the Range Finder Module, shown in the image on the left. This accessory was attached in the front of the PASCObot with two screws. A wire was then used to connect the Range Finder Module to the //control.node. The Range Finder Module uses infrared light to detect the distance from the PASCObot to objects. We followed the “Roving with Sight with the PASCObot” experiment from the PASCO Experiment Library and used the sample code. The code allowed the PASCObot to move on its own, avoiding objects, reacting to its surroundings and maneuvering around the office floor independently. We found working with the PASCObot super cool and we are excited to try out more experiments.

 

 

 

 

 


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  • A big thanks for all the help and support you provided – I want to take some time to say a big thanks for all the help and support you provided me to select the best equipment in order to make the best possible use of the funds available. It is really exceptional that you happily connected with me multiple times even during the weekend and was always motivated to help. Please accept my big thanks for this.

    Gurpreet Sidhu | Physics Instructor | University College of North | The Pas, MB

  • Wireless Spectrometer Big Hit With Students – PASCO’s wireless spectrometer has been utilized very well by our earth science and physical science teachers. It’s an excellent piece of equipment and we have very much enjoyed its addition to enriching our classroom. It definitely brings students to a higher level of understanding wave interaction at a molecular level.

    Matt Tumbach | Secondary Instructional Technology Leader | Tommy Douglas Collegiate | Saskatoon, SK

  • Excellent Smart Cart – I thought the cart was excellent. The quick sampling rate for force will be very useful for momentum and collision labs we do. I’m recommending we include this in our order for next school year.

    Reed Jeffrey | Science Department Head | Upper Canada College | Toronto ON

  • Your lab equipment is of the highest quality and technical support is always there to help. During the 25 years we have used a wide array of lab equipment including computer interfacing. Your Pasco line has a high profile in our lab and will continue to do so far into the future.

    Bob Chin | Lab Technician | Kwantlen Polytechnic University | Surrey, BC

  • Datalogging Activities are Cross-Curricular

    Throughout the province of Nova Scotia, PASCO’s probeware technology has been merged with the rollout of the new P-6 curriculum. We chose a number of sensors for use with our project-based activities. Both the functionality and mobility of PASCO’s dataloggers enable students to collect authentic, real-world data, test their hypotheses and build knowledge.

    Mark Richards | Technology Integration Consultant | Annapolis Valley R.S.B. | Nova Scotia

  • We have a large number of PASCO wireless spectrometers and love how they have improved the learning experience for our students.

    Shawn McFadden | Technical Specialist | Ryerson University | Toronto, Ontario

  • During distance learning due to COVID-19 school shut down, I was given a short window to collect what I could from my classroom to teach online. The PASCO wireless sensors and Smart Carts were my top priority to collect to implement distance learning. By sharing experimental data with students via SPARKVue, the sensors were pivotal in creating an online experience that still allowed students to grow with their lab skills. It was easy to record videos of the data collection and share the data with my students. They did a phenomenal job examining and interpreting the data.


    Michelle Brosseau | Physics Teacher | Ursuline College Chatham | Chatham, Ontario

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