1.1 Problem being addressed
“With the advent of computers, there is MASSIVE amounts of data available to us, or that we can make available.This makes a type of science available to us that simply wasn't practical 100 years ago, that is we can model our theories mathematically.”
-Mark T, 2009
“Europe’s most ambitious space mission captured the public's imagination with a series of hard-won pictures, beamed to Earth from a place beyond Mars. Rosetta’s continuous orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is helping scientists figure out how life began on Earth—and heralds a new age of comet science.”
“In late September, for the first time ever, a woman gave birth to a baby after receiving a womb transplant. The mother and child offer hope to women the world over with missing or non-functional uteruses, who desire to carry their own children to term.”
-Gonzalez, Gadye, McKinnon, 2014
Although Mark T. mentioned that science available today was not practical long ago, meaning that science has improved, there is still a number of chemicals that the world has yet to discover or observe carefully. Although there are many different contraptions scientists could use to study such matter, the scientists would have to go through many procedures and safety precautions just to get a sample of the chemical to study in the lab. Thus, our team wanted to build a machine that would simplify the process and assist the scientists in getting a sample of the object easily. All the sciences study certain properties and relations of specific forms of matter, but not matter in its most general sense.(A. Spirkin,1985) The scientists have found out that humans cannot touch this substance, but anything else might be able to withstand it. Therefore, they need to reduce the risk of getting harmed. Using the same machine, students and teachers in school could also use it to assist them in science experiments. This machine would thus, make learning for students and teachers much safer and interesting.
1.2 Engineering Goals
We aim to create a device which is able to pick up unidentified objects which could have harmful substances present, thus, keeping the user safe and out of harm’s way.
To create a device which aids students and teachers in science lessons which involve the use of harmful chemicals, thus, keeping the user(s) safe
1.3 Specific Requirements
- It must be able to protect the scientists from touching or coming into contact with the harmful chemicals.
- It is battery operated or works on power supply.
- It can withstand mild weather conditions.
-The device has to be efficient and simple to use for the user’s convenience.
-The device has allow the user to be able to pick up unidentified objects safely and not to put him/her at risk.
-It is controlled by a computer.
1.4 Alternative Solutions
1.4.1 Design 1
A protective suit could protect the user as it would be designed such that it covers most of him/her.
The material(s) used to create the suit has to be able to withstand corrosive and harmful acids.
The protective suit is tedious to make as we would need a vast amount of chemical resistant materials to make it, this solution is not completely safe,being so close to the chemicals nothing can be guaranteed. This protective suit is to be worn on and when the person who wears it goes to check or touch what the unknown item is, he or she will not get hurt in the midst of all the investigation due to the suit that is.
1.4.2 Design 2
Programmed by Arduinos and can be controlled from a computer far away. Simple to make using Arduinos and motors, it can guarantee the user’s safety, since he is kept at the far distance away which makes it safer than risking the human with a suit. The robotic arm is strong and will not be easily damaged as its claws would be wrapped with anti chemical materials such as nitrile sheets.
1.4.3 Design 3
Scanner to scan chemicals
We could improve the device which could scan the chemical composition of whatever it is pointed at. The device shown above is called an SCiO, invented by an Israeli.
This is a scanner that will scan the chemical composition of whatever it is pointed at. It analyzes the light that's reflected off those vibrating molecules, it's reportedly possible to identify them by their unique optical signature, and thus determine the chemical composition of the material.Thus, we could use a device similar to this to detect whether a chemical found in an item is harmful for humans so that we do not put ourselves at risk.
The scanner that our group wanted to do will scan the harmful item and which will be connected to a macbook thus all the data will be reflected on the macbook after the harmful item has been scanned. The scanner will contain lots of data on chemicals and such so that when it scans the harmful item, it will know what it is then will be shown on the macbook.
1.4.4 Best solution and reason
Out of all 3 alternative solutions that we thought of, we decided that the robotic claw was the best solution. For our first solution that we thought of which is the protective suit, we felt that it was tedious to make as we would need a vast amount of chemical resistant materials to make the suit. Even with the user in the protective suit, being so close to the chemicals it cannot be guaranteed that this solution is completely safe. The second idea which is a scanner is far more complicated. For the scanner we would have to mobilise it for it to move up close to the chemicals to scan them also we would then get the data that the scanner scanned on our computers. However this was a risky solution as what if the scanner fails to scan thoroughly enough, we would then thus get wrong data. Last but not least was the third solution- the robotic arm which we all agreed was the best solution. The robotic arm would be the safest to use with the least amount of errors. The robotic arm can be controlled by a computer from a distance which allows the user to be kept safe further away while examining the chemicals should it be radioactive making it dangerous. Also this solution is slightly less complicated compared to the others making is feasible to be made. Thus out of all three ideas, we decided to choose the robotic claw.
Since a robotic arm is already an existing product, we wanted to improve the design by enabling the claws to be able to withstand chemicals which are corrosive and harmful to humans. We could do this by adding a casing to the claw which is made of a material that can be used against chemicals.