The rotation of the liquid core of the Earth creates the Earth’s magnetic field. An ordinary compass will try to align itself with this field, showing us which direction is north. The Earth’s magnetic field, which ranges from 0.03 to 0.06 milliTesla (mT), is much weaker than the magnetic field near a normal permanent bar magnet. Ships, airplanes, and hikers use compasses to determine the direction they are traveling. Birds, bats, sea turtles, and some fish are able to sense the Earth’s magnetic field and use it to help them find their way when they migrate long distances every year. In this project, you will build a robot that can determine which direction is north and then migrate in that direction.
In this project, you will design and build a mobile robot to replicate a migrating animal. Your robot should be able to start from any initial position, rotate around to orient itself in a northward-facing direction, and then move forward for approximately one meter.
You are strongly encouraged to use the Engineering Design Method and your creative imagination when tackling this challenge. The Engineering Design Method will help you develop a successful working robot. A little planning will save you time and frustration, especially when working on more complicated projects.
Sensors and Equipment
This project features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.