Using Advanced Sensors with VEX — Feel the Heat
By Daniel Ramirez
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Remember the movie
comedy “The Nutty
Professor” — a Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde comedy
spoof starring Jerry Lewis
and Stella Stevens that
came out in the late ‘50s
(see Figure 1)? Scenes
from the movie showed
beakers full of colorful
mixtures bubbling up in
Bunsen burners, and
spinning centrifuges all
working together. Just think
how great it would have
been for the nutty professor
if he had the advantage of automatic timer controls.
FIGURE 1. A still from the movie comedy "The Nutty
Professor" — a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde spoof starring Jerry
Lewis and Stella Stevens that came out in the late ‘50s.
56 SERVO 05.2012
Did you know that VEX Robotics kits could be used in chemistry or biology labs? With the timers, digital I/O, and analog I/O, we can control almost any kind of experiment that requires
mixing at specific time intervals, temperature monitoring, or
even measuring light levels. Using VEX components, we can
make useful lab equipment such as motorized paddles to
stir liquids or timers to control chemical processes. Instead
of having to constantly watch an experiment, the VEX
microcontroller can monitor it and record the data for you.
Think of how much time you would save, so that you could
move on to other experiments and learn so much more. In
previous articles, we’ve talked about how to use the
microcontroller to track the sun using astronomical
equations. Now, it’s time to introduce the VEX
microcontroller to the chemistry, physics, or even the
The VEX microcontroller provides the timers and
electronic control needed for your experiments. It rivals
older electronic controllers that are far more costly.
Individual VEX microcontrollers can be purchased used on
eBay at a lower cost.
A VEX microcontroller has the following features that
make it ideal for use in the lab:
• Built-in timers that can measure durations in
microseconds to days.