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PocketLab Voyager Rides the “intelino® smart train”

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Submitted by Rich on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 17:32

Introduction

There is a new train out there - the “intelino® smart train, the classic toy train reinvented", according to the developer.  Designed for all ages, it is intuitive with its app, has built-in sensors to provide an interactive experience for the user, and is easily programmed with color snaps that allow the user to control intelino's actions.  Attach a PocketLab Voyager to the top of the intelino smart engine as shown in Figure 1, and you have a great way for children from 4th grade through middle school to s

Damped Simple Harmonic Motion

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Submitted by Rich on Sun, 07/07/2019 - 19:47

Introduction

Damping causes oscillatory systems to dissipate energy to their surroundings.  Frictional losses are quite common in mechanical systems and result in damped simple harmonic motion.  For example, when a child stops pumping a swing, the amplitude of the oscillations gradually decay toward zero.  The same thing happens to a mass that hangs from an oscillating spring.  It is quite common for the amplitude of such oscillations to exhibit a behavior that is negative exp

Subject
Grade Level

How much Carbon Dioxide do you Produce?

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Submitted by Danny on Fri, 07/05/2019 - 00:59

It is almost instinctive when you first get the PocketLab Air to breathe directly on it just to see what happens. As seen below, of the PocketLab Air's seven sensors five of them detect changes from a direct human breath. These parameters are carbon dioxide, particulate matter, temperature, humidity, and pressure. The most interesting of these is the sharp rise in carbon dioxide which as the most important greenhouse gas brings about strong connections to the topic of climate change.

The Negative Exponential Nature of Damping

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Submitted by Rich on Mon, 06/24/2019 - 20:50

Introduction

Damping causes oscillatory systems to dissipate energy to their surroundings.  Frictional losses are quite common in mechanical systems.  For example, when a child stops pumping a swing, the amplitude of the oscillations gradually decay toward zero.  The same thing happens to a mass that hangs from an oscillating spring.  It is quite common for the amplitude of such oscillations to exhibit a behavior that is negative exponential over time, as shown in Figure 1.  The graph indicates that if we take the amplitude at time t=0 to be 1, then the amplitude at time

Subject
Grade Level

PocketLab University - Principles of Temperature Sensors

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Submitted by clifton on Thu, 06/20/2019 - 20:41

PocketLab University

PocketLab University is an initiative to develop college-level labs that students can conduct at home, in their dorm room, or in any other setting without the need for laboratory equipment. Lab 1 uses PocketLab Voyager to understand the physical principles that enable temperature sensors to convert the physical property of temperature to an electrical property that we can measure with simple circuitry. The student assignment is below.

Grade Level

Resonance and Damped Harmonic Motion

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Submitted by Rich on Thu, 06/20/2019 - 02:47

Introduction

Resonance can be defined in a number of ways.  The most common definition is that resonance occurs at the frequency at which forced oscillations produce maximum amplitude.  When the driving forces of oscillation are removed, friction gradually decreases the amplitude.  This is known as damped harmonic motion.  Most young children experience resonance as well as damped harmonic motion in schoolyard playgrounds.  They experience resonance while pumping the swing at the right frequency--the natural frequency of the swing.  They experience dampe

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Grade Level

Periodic Motion: Weights vs. Springs

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Submitted by Rich on Thu, 06/13/2019 - 16:54

Introduction

In a well-known 1938 book entitled "Demonstration Experiments in Physics", editor Richard Sutton describes a setup for producing periodic motion of a cart using weights instead of springs.  With today's technology this experiment can be done using an air disk, and data can be collected with PocketLab Voyager's rangefinder.  The data clearly shows that not all periodic motions are simple harmonic.  The restoring force when weights are used is constant, while the restoring force with springs is proportional to the displacement.  Springs produce simple harmonic

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Grade Level

Sensors for Forest Fires

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Submitted by Danny on Wed, 06/05/2019 - 19:41

Forest fires are a common natural disaster within western North America and pose a serious risk to many communities both nearby due to direct danger of the fire, as well as far away in the form of air pollution. Currently, in many places, some form of government employee will be in charge of looking out for forest fires and once identified, satellites and computer programs can be used to track its progression and predict where the fire will spread and where the smoke cloud will go. This allows us to evacuate individuals who may be in danger and minimize loss of life.

Momentum Pendulum Rides the PocketLab HotRod

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Submitted by Rich on Sun, 05/26/2019 - 23:36

The Momentum Pendulum

The momentum pendulum is shown in Figure 1.  A frame (red) to hold the pendulum was printed on a 3D printer.  The STL file in included with this lesson.  The frame is solidly attached to the PocketLab HotRod with three damage-free hanging strips.  A roughly 3" diameter  wood ball with a screw eye attached to the top of the ball is hung from a bifilar suspension so that the ball will swing in a plane.  Two small holes at the top of the frame provide an easy way to prepare the string suspension.  The smaller set of wheels are used with the HotRod, and