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
- 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,
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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.