Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mini Hamster In A Ball Robot

Going with the phrase that “there’s a robot for every niche”, there’s actually a name for a family of robots that mimic hamsters on a treadmill – “miniball” robots. The name comes from a no longer available do-it-yourself kit to build such a robot.

This robot uses a solar engine . A small solar cell by itself generally doesn’t have the power to make a motor move, so you have to store this power up in a capacitor, which is a small battery-like storage device. When the circuit sees that there is enough power stored, it releases it in a burst to the motor, jerking it forward. This motion is much like a hamster in a ball, randomly making bursts of motion in one direction or another.

This silly robot got my attention so I ordered the kit and will bring our “robo-hampster” to one of our meetings. All the info you need to build this robot can be found here.

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