Throughout my fourth cycle, I explored the field of robotics following my inquiry question "How Can Wheels and Different Sensors be Integrated to Create an Enhanced System of Movement?". In order to study this topic, I designed and started creating a robot that would include IR sensors for obstacle detection and wheels for movement. I then planned to compare the effectiveness of this system to the effectiveness of my first walking robot design. I finally wanted to conclude which of the two were superior for the most part and describe situations where the other would be more beneficial.
This inquiry changed how I view robotics as this was a completely different concept than what I had explored in the past. I initially expected all forms of robotic movement to have similar factors that contributed towards its effectiveness and that I would not have too many issues working on this project. However, I soon found that wheeled movement was not as simple as I had expected and that I would have to work hard to make my design work. I also learned how to compile designs from various sources and make them work into one circuit. Due to the lack of one of the vital parts to my original design, I had to search for alternate options. When I found one, I realized that it would negate some of the circuit-work that I had already done so I would have to completely redesign everything to make the robot work. By doing this, I learned how to put these ideas together and some small tricks to reduce the amount of work needed for this.
Some of the occurrences in this cycle will definitely affect decisions that I make in the future. For one, it took me many days to figure out why I could not reverse the movement of my wheels. In order to avoid this, I will make sure that I know which pin controls what and I will double check my code to ensure that it works. In addition, my knowledge on compiling systems has been greatly enhanced and I will use this to create future robots more efficiently and effectively.
I believe that if the field of robotics was further studied globally, it would help with the development of people both technologically and mentally. The technological aspect is self-explanatory, but many people overlook how studying robotics can help develop many useful skills. While I was studying robotics, I acquired skills such as making use of what is available, experimenting, creativity, and problem-solving. These skills are very useful for anyone to possess. I also believe that if people experiment in the field of robotics, they are likely to be intrigued by the subject and want to learn more. Robotics is a field that seems difficult at a first glance and the work seems more difficult than necessary. However, it can be very fun as there is much room for creativity and innovation. This leads me to strongly believe that robotics should be studied globally as it could be beneficial to a lot of people in various different ways.
Throughout this cycle, I faced many challenges which I was eventually able to overcome. The most prominent challenge was trying to fix a mistake in my code when one of my wheels was not turning in reverse. This problem persisted for many days before I was finally able to overcome it. Persistence was the key, as I did not give up after the first day of not being able to solve the problem. Another issue I faced was not being able to acquire a specific part to my design. This forced me to find another piece and format my design accordingly. Overall, my research cycle had many setbacks that made it difficult for me to accomplish my goal, but I learned a lot from them and appreciate what I was able to complete.