Chemical Reaction

This project demonstrates how the Hummingbird can be used to create a robotic diorama to illustrate a scientific process, the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to form water. Projects such as this can enable to students to demonstrate their understanding of a science concept while also practicing skills in engineering and computer science.

This project uses four servo motors, three single color LEDs, and a distance sensor. Each servo motor is used to represent either an H2 molecule or an O atom. When the distance sensor detects an object closer than the threshold, the program begins to describe the chemical reaction. The O atoms move together to illustrate O2, and the program states that the reaction starts with O2 and 2H2. Then the LEDs flash to represent the spark that is required to start the reaction. Next, the servos move each H2 close to an O atom to represent two H2O molecules. After eight seconds, the servo motors return to the starting position.

The sample program uses custom blocks. For example, the block below moves the servo motors to the positions that represent the H2O molecules. Using custom blocks can make a program easier to read and understand.

This project could be extended to handle more complex chemical reactions, such as the CH4 + 2O2 = CO2 + 2H20. More complex equations might require more than four servos, so two Hummingbird boards might be needed. This could be a nice opportunity for two groups to work together.

This project aligns with Next Generation Science Standard MS-PS1-5: “Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.” It is also an example of how the Hummingbird kit can be used to illustrate an abstract science concept.