Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Vibrabots and Bristlebots
After catching a YouTube segment from the World Maker Faire in NYC featuring writer and Geek Mom Kathy Ceceri, I headed to the library to pick up her book, Robotics.
During her Maker Faire talk, Kathy mentioned that her approach was fairly low-tech and that most of the projects in her book could be accomplished with several household objects and just a few electronic ones. Written for kids, I knew it would be accessible to a noob like me.
And yet I didn't fully follow her directions exactly on my first project. Why make it easy on myself? Still, Kathy's book did inspire me to make a vibrabot.
The only electronics required for a vibrabot are a battery, a small motor and two small pieces of wire to connect the motor to the battery.
First, you choose some kind of platform, Kathy recommends a overturned plastic cup, I upcycled a foam tray from the grocery store. When you tape the battery and motor atop the platform and connect them, the platform will get a bit of a buzz. Adding a cork atop the motor makes for a less balanced, more fun jiggle.
To make the project a bit more exciting, Kathy and I attached legs, consisting of colored markers to our platforms. (I was also channeling a project I remembered seeing on Radio Shack's Great Create.)
You can see how it turned out. After I excitedly posted the picture of My First Robot (-like device) on The Maker Mom's Facebook page my inner critic chimed in. "I can't believe you posted that! Look at it; admit it, it's pretty lame."
I will admit my inner voice was right, it is rather pitiful looking. But you know what? I'm new at this. I don't have to apologize for my first try. (Thank goodness my friends are posting pictures of their fabulous vibrabots. But I think that's be a different sort of meme, anyway.)
A couple of weeks after the vibrabot attempt, we picked up a kit for a Bristlebot, which is kind of like a DIY hexbug. As you can see in the video, it's fun, simple, and thanks to the googly eyes, really cute.
Kathy's book is a great help to get you and your maker kids started on basic robotics. I have about 19 Robotics projects left to explore with my tween, but with the Geek Mom book on its way to me, I suspect my to-make list is going to get a lot longer.
Tell me, what have you made lately?
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