By Preston Frazier / June 29, 2017

Planting seeds with robotics

Summertime is here!! And, things are starting to heat up! Pardon the pun, but really . . . the temperature is rising and so are the opportunities for some outdoor activities such as swimming, baseball, cookouts, and gardening.

But being outside doesn't mean we have to leave STEM and robotics inside. I'm new to the Pitsco family and have been spending a good amount of time exploring our products and tinkering with TETRIX®. So, I decided to try my hand at developing a robot that can be helpful in the world of green thumbs, lawn gnomes, and gardening.

You might be asking, “How could a TETRIX robot possibly be used in the garden?”

Well, there are many steps in getting your garden to grow that are all important and a few of them that are more foundational and critical than others such as digging and planting. These are the two tasks I thought a robot could be a great help with.

I used the engineering design process (EDP) to help me with this project. With the first two steps – ask and imagine – complete, it was on to making a plan and creating (aka trying, toying, and tinkering).

After some work, the robot really came to life. Here are the two main parts of the finished project as inspiration to make your own. Introducing the 3-Wheeled Garden Bot!

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1. The Digging Mechanism

A 96 mm TETRIX MAX Channel attached to a TETRIX MAX Flat Building Plate made for a great digging mechanism. These two parts created a small trench for the seeds to be planted in. I operated the bot with a remote control and saw the trench develop as it went.

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2. The Seed-Planting Mechanism

I needed some type of remote-operated device that could drop the seed. So, a standard servo motor coupled with a 96 mm TETRIX MAX Flat element it was. After the bot dug the trench, planting seeds could begin. The seeds were stored behind this mechanism and were dropped as the robot moved along.

The Takeaway

I hope this planted some seeds of inspiration for you. Robotics can carry some awesome applications for daily life. At Pitsco we believe in getting hands on to solve problems and advance lives. So grab your TETRIX robotics system and experiment, innovate, fail, and repeat! There are endless possibilities for the robots you can build, whether they're for gardening or any other interest.

As this robot might not be perfect, it's time for improvement, Step 5 in the EDP. I'd love to hear your ideas and thoughts on how to improve the design OR what other tasks you think the garden bot should do.

Have a great summer! Be sure to check out this bot in action and share your builds with us too!

TOPICS: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, ROBOTICS, Camps

Preston Frazier

Written by Preston Frazier

Hi all! I’m one of Pitsco’s educational account representatives and have the pleasure of serving the Midwest. I travel quite a bit visiting with teachers, and presenting at workshops whenever I have the opportunity to do so. I’m an alum of the University of Missouri and Pittsburg State University and a supporter of our Big Brothers Big Sisters local chapter. I love traveling, going to sporting events, and hanging out with my wife and daughter whenever possible.