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Aprile 23rd Grosse Point South

posted Apr 24, 2009, 2:25 AM by Steve Dickie   [ updated Apr 24, 2009, 3:13 AM ]
Last night was another fun meeting. We started with a short presentation on Telematics by Mark and Don. Telematics deals with making "smart" cars. After the presentation we got to play with the remote controlled cars they use with their students. They ran us through a quick version of the constructivist labs they do with their students. It was great fun. We were trying to experimentally determine the max speed, acceleration while speeding up, acceleration while slowing down, and acceleration while turning. While doing these experiments we had to do the same trouble shooting the students would have to do. We also saw other factors we could test to bring in other physics concepts. It was really a great experience and makes me wonder how much a classroom set of these cars cost.

After the telematics demonstration we went to dinner. At dinner Georg Raithel told about the upcomming Physics Olympiad being held at the University of Michigan. Registration is free but the deadline is today (April 25th). If you don't manage to get registered in time email Georg there may still be a chance to get in.

Dave Barnes from Arbor Scientific was there showing off some of the new stuff they're considering for their catalog. Many of the demos centered around static electicity. You can see some of the stuff that was shown off it the latest CoolStuff Newsletter. Dave also showed off a cool litle helicopter that is perfect for flying above a digital balance to answer the question of how much force will you measure when it's hovering. As it turns out we don't get the expected answer of exactly the weight of the helicopter. It's about 35% higher. If it was flown in an enclosed container we would get the expected weight.

After dinner it was my turn to ramble on about the Wiimote Whiteboard. I also realized I never gave out the link to my instructions. I put them up on a web page for everyone. This was the same thing I showed off in February, but this time I brought parts for IR LED pens and such. I also passed out CDs of required software. If you try this and run into problems don't hesitate to send me an email (falconphysics@gmail.com) to ask questions. I also mentioned Animoto, a cool website for making slide shows. Here's an example of one I put together with pictures from our 50th anniversary bash.