Meeting Recap 9/10 -11/5

Our team meets once a week on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. to review what each of our members has been working on and what the next steps will be. Over the past few weeks our aerospace engineers (Brad, Kelly and Allyson) have been working on the construction of the tubes and the mechanics of releasing the ball. Our physicist (Chris) has been researching different features of the ball that will be launched, while working with our photonic scientist (Sam) on fixing the fish eye distortion of the GoPro camera or a new lens that would create a field of view to see most of the tube without the fish eye distortion.


Brad and Kelly have created prototypes to give a general idea of what they are trying to to do. Brad created a mechanical prototype, which uses a thin string (almost like fishing wire) to open a door that releases the ball when a bar is turned and then opens the door at the end to capture it when turned only slightly further. He has had to focus on the geometry of the doors that release and catch the ball.

Kelly has been working on a mechanical release and capture system using muscle wire and an electrical current. Muscle wire is a wire that contracts when an electrical current runs through it.

The goal is to have both protoypes done by the next meeting so that we can come to a decision on which one to move forward with before Thanksgiving.

Allyson has been working on finding a useable material for the tubes and the flanges that will attach them to the box which will hold the tubes for each trial.

Sam has used VirtualDub to remove the fisheye distortion caused by the lens in the GoPro. Due to the error caused by distortion Sam and Chris are working towards finding a new lens that would allow viewing of most of the tube without the fisheye view.

Chris also brought up the point of what type of bead or marble to use for launching. As a team we decided to use marbles because they are glass which is just sand. We will rough them up a bit but with different levels of roughness for each one.

Although I have never been one to delve into the science field, I have found that with this group of people I have been able to ask questions, have things explained and see science in a new light.

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