This project is for advanced students.This is one of the coolest applications of renewable energy to come about in recent years. BEAM stands for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics. It basically refers to a class of robots that instead of having complicated brains, rely on nervous-system type of sensors to interact with their world.
Some BEAM robots skitter, dance, flash, jump, roll, or walk, and most are solar powered. The result is a fast responding robot made of old cell phone parts that can fit inside your hand. We’ll be making a few different types so you can get a good handle on this type of programming-free, battery-free robotics.
Most BEAM robots use the same solar ‘engine’. The solar cell will convert sunlight into electricity, which will then be stored in our capacitors (think ‘electricity tanks’) until a certain threshold is reached… when the tanks are full, the robot begins to move. This means that you can leave them out all day, and they will sit and collect energy, then turn on by themselves until they run out of juice, then turn off, sit and recharge until they have enough energy to go again… and off they go!
Let’s walk through how to make a BEAM robot. Once you’ve got the hang of it, make a second solar engine from the rest of your parts and add any kind of body you want!
Please login or register to read the rest of this content.