What is BEAM Robotics?
BEAM Robotics is an acronym for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics. Make something that mimmics Biology (typically bugs), using Electonics, make it Aesthetically pleasing, and make sure the Mechanics work. BEAM robotics are surprisingly robust in what they can do. Using very simple circuits, typically built of discrete transistors and logic chips, these robots and walk, crawl, roll, and do pretty much anything you can think of for them to do. As such, ATS likes them for many reasons:

  • BEAM robotics are typically solar powered, implying that there are no batteries. This is eco-friendly on a couple of levels. No batteries going to the land fill, and they are using solar energy, so there is no direct emissions. I say "direct" because, although there are no polluting fuels being used by the robots, some very hazardous industrial processes go into making the solar cells that BEAM robots use for power, their makeup, etc.
  • BEAM robots are cheap, because most of their components are produced by recycling dead walkmans, tape decks, disc cameras, solar-powered calculators, etc. for the parts. Hard to go over budget when you are hitting up junk stores (not to mention your friends) for dead consumer electronics.
  • BEAM robots are small things. This fits in with most everybody's life style. Few people have room for anything too big. Focusing on small robots in more responsible for these folks than not.
  • BEAM robots are way cool. Imagine something made out of trash, soldered together into an artistic, semi-biologic form, totally powered by the sun, that can still exhibit some cool behavior. It is, to say the least, cool.

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On the Web
  • SolarBotics.net contains the "BEAM Bestiary," as well as many of the circuits used as engines in these little robots.
  • BEAM Wiki has many other types of BEAM creations defined.