Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

2012 Vernier Engineering Contest Winners

Vernier Software & Technology sponsors a contest for high school and college teachers to showcase creative uses of Vernier sensors with NI LabVIEW software in the classroom.

Winner – College

Transiting Exoplanet: The Laboratory Experiment

Jonathan Aurnou and Peter Shimer

UCLA Earth & Space Sciences
Los Angeles, California

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Shimer and Aurnou built a transiting exoplanet experiment by putting a 5″ globe incandescent bulb in the center of a turntable and a “planet” out near the edge. Students set up their Vernier light sensors and recorded transit data as the table rotated. The students wrote NI LabVIEW programs to acquire and stack multiple transits of the exoplanet, then used their data to calculate the radius of the exoplanet (using theory developed in class).

Winner – High School

Virtual Trombone

Nelson Nunalee

Ravenscroft School
Raleigh, North Carolina

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Each year in his engineering class, Nunalee does a unit on digital music and the principles of sound in creating digital music. The culminating project requires the students to create a virtual instrument using NI LabVIEW software and Vernier sensors. One group of students created a virtual trombone using a Vernier Motion Detector. The students applied mathematical functions, critical thinking, and problem solving to create a working demonstration.

Notable Entry – College

Computed Tomography Simulation

Elliot Mylott

Portland State University
Portland, Oregon

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“The goal for this lab was to utilize Vernier sensors and NI LabVIEW software to engage students with health-related career goals using a simulation of a real-world medical device, thereby enhancing the scientific preparation for medical school they receive in the general physics lab. In this laboratory exercise, the concepts behind a computed tomography (CT) scanner are used to teach a broad spectrum of fundamental ideas in both mathematics and physics, with links to anatomy and biology.”

Notable Entry – College

Impulse Momentum

Justin Dunlap

Portland State University
Portland, Oregon

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A group consisting of graduate students and a professor from Portland State University’s (PSU) Science Outreach Society teamed up with the Oregon Ballet Theater (OBT) to put on an Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) Science Pub at the Bagdad Theater in Portland, entitled “The Physics of Ballet.” One of the demonstrations used a Vernier Force Plate and a Vernier LabQuest interface in conjunction with an original NI LabVIEW program to demonstrate the impulse-momentum theorem.

Notable Entry – College

LabVIEW Laboratory 2

Kent Reinhard

Southeast Community College
Lincoln, Nebraska

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At Southeast Community College, they use NI LabVIEW software as the main source of data collection in all of their physics and engineering labs. They design LabVIEW programs to perform the data collection and monitoring of the experiment and its operation, thus allowing the student to focus on the physical outcome of the lab. After the experiment is completed, the students use the graphs to complete quantitative and qualitative analysis of the experiment.

Notable Entry – High School

Robot Tug of War

Gary Garber

Boston University Academy
Boston, Massachusetts

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Garber created a lesson to show an interesting way to teach Newton’s third law using Vernier Dual-Range Force sensors, NI LabVIEW software, and LEGO NXT Mindstorms. The question posed is what is the tension in a string during a tug-of-war. The LEGO NXT Robots do the tug-of-war and the students wrote the programs in LabVIEW to gather Force Data and display it on the NXT robots.

Notable Entry – High School

LabVIEW Maze Solver

Nelson Nunalee

Ravenscroft School
Raleigh, North Carolina

Watch on YouTube

In this project, students use a Vernier Light Sensor and NI LabVIEW software to create a maze scanner and solver. The Light Sensor detects a major difference between black and white, so a threshold is set in the middle, and each cell is saved as a 0 (black) or 1 (white). After this binary array has been stored, the students create an automated algorithm that solves the maze. STEM teaching objectives covered with this project include timing and sequencing of events, working with arrays, mathematical algorithms, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Notable Entry – High School

A Virtual Game of Cornhole

Nelson Nunalee

Ravenscroft School
Raleigh, North Carolina

Watch on YouTube

In this project, students use a Vernier Accelerometer and Motion Detector, along with NI LabVIEW software, to simulate the game of bean-bag toss. The students hold the Accelerometer in an underhand tossing motion. The more briskly the sensor is moved forward, the higher the reading from the accelerometer. STEM teaching objectives covered with this project include acceleration, conditional statements, critical thinking, and problem solving.

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