Sunday, June 03, 2007

Air Powered Car

I was pleased to read this article on Air Powered Cars.
Robert and Danny have been trying to use the Lego parts that use air. These parts are the air tanks, hoses, valves and air valve switches. They planned to build some sort of contraption that worked on air. So far they have reported many problems. I have seen some interesting rigs they built with pumps pistons and storage tanks.
I am sure that when they read this article and read about all of the challenges the engineers faced to build a car powered by air that they will not feel alone in their struggles.
I am a teacher watching my students attempt to use an alternative energy source to power a robot. They have been using the normal Lego motors, RCX and traditional looking drive trains for two years. I admire them very much for taking on this challenge to change the power source of a robot. It is timely. It is relavant. They are fearless. They have learned that it isn't so easy to invent a new system and just change to new unproven system.
They have almost given up a few times. I think my middel-school robotics kids are learning first hand what teams of grown-up trained engineers are experiencing. It's hard. It is also exciting. I think the "Big Three" should come to Ridgewood and start funding their edcuation so that Robert and Danny work on these alternative technologies while they are in college and when they finish college.
I think the automotive industry is slow to change because it is easier to just keep making the same old Lego Robot. Just ask Danny and Robert how tempting it is to give up and fall back on "Old Reliable."

1 comment:

jdan said...

I think the air car concept should incorporate braking system that recharges air cylinder.

The use of team blogs to record the science (tests, observations, redesign, etc.)is a great tool.