Explosions, noxious fumes, burns, stains, and all manner of unpleasantness…there are times when chemists simply do not want to get too close to the chemicals that they are mixing.
Offering a potential solution is ChemBot, the $5,000 (£2,700) first-place winner in the Grant Imahara VEXplorer Robot Challenge, sponsored by Revell, Innovation First, Robot magazine and Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks.
Gustavo Goretkin, contest winner, said in his YouTube demonstration: ‘Sometimes, no matter how many precautions you take before conducting an experiment, something might go wrong.’
Unless, of course, experiments can be conducted remotely using a robot. That is exactly what Chembot allows chemists to do through controlling the actions of a robotic arm carried on a mobile base and observing the results through a camera mounted on its body.
Out of dozens of applications, the contest itself gave 25 semi-finalist robot enthusiasts a chance to compete for a $5,000 scholarship grand prize and a $2,000 (£1,087) second-place scholarship. 10 more contestants were given a chance to win $200 (£108) gift certificates redeemable at www.vexrobotics.com.
Contestants used the VEXplorer robotics kit, which includes the SolidWorks Student Design Kit, and any additional robotics parts (up to a limit of $100 (£54)) from www.vexrobotics.com to create a unique and original application.
Entrants then had to post a video demonstration on YouTube. Several competitors included SolidWorks designs and animations in their videos.