Robotics

Robotics is an emerging field within the aerospace industry. Civil Air Patrol is fortunate enough to have a strong background in robotics, and uses its resources to provide training and information to members.

Civil Air Patrol Introduction to Robotics

There are several exciting projects which can be options for squadrons to participate in. One of the most exciting (although involved) is an attempt to launch and recover a vehicle sent to near-space via a weather balloon. This has been successfully accomplished by many schools and individuals around the country, and Civil Air Patrol squadrons can use this information to help plan and coordinate their own launches.

The following projects were conducted and assisted by members of the Lewis County Squadron - check them out and invite your cadets to accept the challenge to launch a vehicle to near-space!

Centralia College Launch Summer 2013 (Powerpoint)

Centralia Middle School Launch Summer 2014 (Powerpoint)

Centralia Middle School also created a video of their launch in action, including awesome footage of the balloon exploding at over 120,000 feet near the middle of the video.

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A number of other resources are also available for CAP squadrons to explore when introducing cadets to robotics.

Level 1 - Beginner

Lego Mindstorms are an extremely popular platform for introductory robotics, due to simplicity. They are also often used in large competitions, which can also be a great opportunity for cadets.

Level 2 - Advanced

Microcontrollers are small computers that use internal programming to process signals. Electrical inputs arrive from sensors and switches, and then are processed and other signals are sent out to any number of devices - motors, servos, lights, etc. These are recommended for those who have some basic experience with computer systems.

Level 3 - Electronic Components

Electronics are essential in the operation of any robotic system. Therefore, an understanding of electronic components is equally important. This subject is very broad and cannot be thoroughly discussed in any single class. A number of kits are available commercially to teach electronics, from the basics all the way through very advanced concepts.

*Please Note - none of these links constitute endorsements or sponsorships in relation to Civil Air Patrol or any of its members. This is simply a list of tools that have proved useful by experience.

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For any other questions or ideas about other exciting robotics links, please contact the webmaster David Peterson, and check back soon - your ideas may be posted along with these ones!