LED Flame Lamp: Random or Cyclical Illumination?

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 01/03/2018 - 19:00

Late in 2017 a handful of companies began selling LED flame lamps that do a great job of simulating an actual burning fire. The illumination is bright, has a color temperature of a warm orange flame, and the light produces negligible heat while running at under 5 watts of electric power. This light seems to be a great replacement for traditional gas lanterns, hurricane lamps, and oil lamps.  The simulated flame is unbelievably realistic in the flame light purchased by the author. No obvious pattern could be detected in the flickering LED flame by observing the light with the eye.

Programming Exercise:Voyager Temperature Probe Controlled Scratch Teapot

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 12/29/2017 - 01:16

Here is a project that will challenge your students’ skill in interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Scratch Programming.  The challenge is to program the five bubbles to start bubbling upwards in the teapot—one bubble at 90ᵒC, two at 92ᵒC, three at 94ᵒC, four at 96ᵒC, and five bubbles at 98ᵒC.  When the temperature of the teapot has reached 100ᵒC, the phrase Full Boil should appear.  See the movie accompanying this lesson for clarification of the intended result.  When the burner under the real teapot is turned off and cooling begins, bubbling should go away in revers

A Lesson on Calibration: Interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Modular Robotics Cubelets

Submitted by Rich on Tue, 12/26/2017 - 18:40

Sensor-based inquiry is a dominant force in today’s science education, with the calibration of sensors being essential for high-quality measurement.  Wikipedia® defines calibration as “the comparison of measurement values delivered by a device under test with those of a calibration standard of known accuracy.”  In this lesson students will study the process of calibration:

Interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Modular Robotics Cubelets Maker Space

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 12/18/2017 - 20:39

The maker revolution has grown by leaps and bounds during the past four years. With dozens of robotic toys for learning and discovery now in the marketplace, it makes sense to give students opportunities for interfacing these robots with the investigative powers of PocketLab Voyager. This lesson describes an example project by which students interface Voyager with Modular Robotics Cubelets—robot blocks that magnetically connect to form an endless variety of robots. There are seventeen different blocks in three categories—sense, think, and act.

PocketLab Voyager Study of LIDAR Basics

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 19:09

LIDAR—an acronym for Light Detection and Ranging—is a method for remote sensing to measure distances.  While LIDAR commonly uses reflected laser light to accomplish this, students can investigate LIDAR principles by using Voyager’s Gyroscope and IR Range Finder in conjunction with the PocketLab-Scratch integration.  PocketLab support has described a project in which Voyager was mounted to an RC BB-8 Star Wars toy to map a two dimensional image of a “room”.  In this lesson, the aut

Programming Exercise: Voyager Light Sensor Drives a Scratch Program of the Eye

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 12/10/2017 - 22:01

The eye is one of the many marvels of the human body.  The colored iris of the eye, surrounding the pupil, acts as a diaphragm to keep the amount of light entering the eye fairly constant.  If you walk out the door of your house to a sunny yard, the iris opening gets smaller letting less light into your eye.  If you enter a dark room after watching your favorite television program, the iris gets larger to allow more light to enter your eye.  This is a protective reflex, as too much light could damage the retina, which is where the image forms in the eye, similar to the film of a traditional

Programming Exercise: Voyager Gyro Controlled Scratch Christmas Tree

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 19:27

Here is a fun Holiday project that that will challenge your students’ skills in both the physics of a gyroscope and Scratch computer programming. With reference to Figure 1, all of the sprites shown are either from the sprite library or are created from the Paint new sprite option in Scratch. The challenge is to program the tree’s star to blink on and off by control of the x gyro, blink the blue light by control of the y gyro, and blink the big red light by control of the z gyro. All three lights should be on when the Scratch program starts running.

A Respiration Study with Voyager and Scratch Programming

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 12/06/2017 - 20:13

This lesson is motivated by a respiration study using a FLIR ONE™ thermal camera in conjunction with the Vernier Thermal Analysis Plus app. Using Voyager and the PocketLab Temperature Probe, however, allows students to investigate respiration at a fraction of the cost of a thermal camera. The response time for the Temperature Probe is rapid enough to observe temperature differences in the air inhaled and exhaled through the mouth during the process of respiration.

Using Scratch with PocketLab

Submitted by PocketLab on Tue, 12/05/2017 - 18:18

PocketLab let's you write Scratch programs that talk to the outside world. This guide will help you get started connecting your PocketLab to MIT Media Lab's Scratch software. With PocketLab and Scratch you can read real time sensor data in Scratch and write programs that interact with the outside world.

Follow these steps to get started with the PocketLab - Scratch integration: