Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What Is BEAM?

BEAM is a design philosophy that emphasizes simple design solutions to building robots. The most common BEAM acronym stands for:

Biology | Electronics | Aesthetics | Mechanics

BEAM robots use nature as a guide in the design of your robotic creature. Why re-invent the wheel when nature has already done so?

These are the guts of what run a robot. The difference here is that most BEAM robots do not use a programmed microcontroller. For some applications simple components like a reed switch can do the job quicker and easier than a microcontroller.

Form follows function, there is a reason falcons are shaped the way they are, there is a reason pigs don’t fly. Although not always the case the general rule is that the better constructed the robot the better it will perform. The aesthetics can also be seen as the artistic side to building robots. If your going to do it it may as well look good.

No matter how good the control electronics are they can not make up for bad hardware, as it’s exceedingly difficult to walk on broken legs. This is key in determining the lifetime and performance of your robot. Don’t underestimate the value of good mechanisms.

More information on building the “Coat Hangar Walker” you see above can be found here.

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