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Homework Help: Building a mousetrap vehicle which executes a 180 degree turn

  1. Mar 8, 2010 #1
    For class, a partner and myself must build a mousetrap vehicle which travels down a runway (120 inches), executes a 180 degree turn around an obstacle(72 inch maximum width) and travels back past the finish line. http://www.geneng.mtu.edu/olympics/2010/mousecar_competition_b2010.pdf [Broken] click here for more details/diagrams.

    The number of mouse traps is unlimited (they must however, be standard sized victor mousetraps), the car must be self contained, and it cannot be touched at any point after it is released. The track borders are designated with tape, so no chance of just running it into the wall and hope it keeps going, haha.

    Would making the car jointed help make the turn?

    We had originally thought that we could use opposing mousetraps to help make the turn, but after some thought, realized that it would only reverse the car, not make it continue in a parabolic path.

    We are at a loss, and have searched the internet, but have been unable to find any designs or tips.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2010 #2
    Your path looks semicircular, not parabolic. This makes it easier in some respect. I would suggest keeping track of the distance you have traveled (perhaps with a winding string). At the appropriate moments, you change your steering to a fixed angle, then back. I realize that's pretty vague and general, but I think the idea of a competition like this is to just use your imagination and have fun seeing what can work.
  4. Mar 9, 2010 #3
    Semicircular was actually the word I was going for, thank you. I just can't figure out how to make the car make the appropriate turns at the appropriate times, seeing as "no team member may interact with the vehicle at any time".
  5. Mar 9, 2010 #4
    read again.
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