Controllable bristlebot


[sprite_tm], whose projects we have covered in the past, took the popular bristlebot to an extreme and created a controllable version. A bristlebot consists of a small vibrating motor mounted with a battery on the head of a toothbrush. These micro-robots buzz around randomly, and he attempted to tame them. He used a platform of twin bristlebots and added an optical sensor from a laser mouse and an ATtiny13. The optical sensor is used to determine the relative motion of the robot, so that the motors can be adjusted accordingly. He also has a video of the bot using the sensor to find a mark on the floor and stay within bounds. Although it isn’t as accurate, it acts like a traditional line-following robot.

[thanks sprite_tm]


  1. landon says:

    sick! that looks like a really fun project.

  2. -.- says:

    This looks aweeeeeees000mmm3333

    excuse the 1337

  3. jelengar says:

    That is super cool. i just love sprite_tm’s mods, a true hacker, keep up the good work.

    Anyhow great source for all the stuff required for this project would be a cheap chinese ir heli (15$) :) and, you could make it controllable. (LiPo, charger 3 motors IR link :) )

  4. ACalcutt says:

    nice. much cooler than the project it is based on. I wonder what it would take to remotely control it.

  5. dirk says:

    hah, these little things are cool

  6. It’s so…cute! Nice project :)

  7. PsyKotyk says:

    Your floor will be really clean inside that bubble you drew on it with permanent marker. lolz

  8. McSquid says:

    kinda wanna make an outer shell for this that looks like a scrubbing bubble. not gonna lie.

  9. Dennis says:

    Looks like an cool project ! i actually made like 20 off these bristle bots a couple weeks ago with my scouting group (i am an scout leader for kids from 7-11)
    I used dish washing brushes tho, because the motors i ordered where to powerful for an normal tooth brush.
    Those bristle bots are realy cool toys, i might make an radio controlled one, when i have the time :)

  10. bluehash says:

    nice one sprite!

  11. obsoehollerith says:

    all unicorns are gay.

  12. Orv says:

    Is that why they died out?

  13. strider_mt2k says:

    Holy crap, he turned bristlebots into -real- bots!
    That’s incredibly cool!

    (unicorns stopped existing when the ambient levels of mana reached a point too low to support them.)

  14. andre says:

    two words. dead mobiles. Nice little disk motors in Samsungs and many others, you can even take them off the dead screen assemblies (ask your local phone shop really nicely and offer them a few $)

    Interestingly, its possible to drive these from a single PIC output at 3V, just add a parallel tantalum capacitor to limit surges.


  15. therian says:

    use larger motor, larger brushes and you get a floor cleaner

  16. k0ldBurn says:

    It just so happens that I have a fair sized motor and broom. I might have to scale this thing up.

    @andre- go to Cheap damaged or repackaged cell phones, cameras, ipods, and other stuff. I got a couple older blackberries there for $10 a piece.

  17. andre says:

    @k0ldburn, thanks for the heads up. I am currently experimenting with HP printer sensors as a primitive yet effective floor sensor (the trick is to add an additional slit filter across the sensor axis to detect movement)

    seems that the most effective sensor is from an HP “mini” photo printer with the visible light emitter, can easily be used and the outputs are 5V logic.


  18. zac says:

    coool !!!can you make a tutorial to show our how you make it on youtube????


  19. Jet Man 40 says:

    cool idea i love it

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