BEAM robot tumbles aimlessly

[Harm's] tumbling robot from a few years back is an excellent study in simple motion. Foregoing wheels or legs, he uses four flippers to roll the robot around the room. Two motors are used, each in charge of two flippers. Identical but separate circuits drive the motors with a 74HC240 gate IC monitoring the continuously rotation. When a flipper becomes stuck, the circuit reverses the rotation of the motor so the simple bot can tumble its way out of a jam.

The circuitry is less advanced than some of the BEAM builds we’ve seen before. That doesn’t diminish the cleverness of his design and we think BEAM robotics are great way to get your head out of the computer code and go hardware only. After the break you can take in some video of the  tumbling motion. We’ve also included a video of another bot from his website that uses concentric rings for another type of unique locomotion.

[Harm's] ‘W’ bot uses concentric rings for locomotion.

[Thanks Thomas]


  1. andrew says:

    Wow, the concentric ring bot is pretty clever. A more advanced version might be able to push itself on edge and roll around if it found flat ground (in a segway-esque style of balancing).

  2. T&P says:

    the 1st bot made me lol

  3. Kyle says:

    I love the ring-bot! That’s just plain ol’ fun to watch.

  4. mark says:

    that ring walker thingy is sooo cool! it dosent really look like it could be used for practical uses

  5. Josh says:

    Yet another project I can use my surplus of 240s on. Pretty cool!

  6. octel says:

    Tumbling robot is so depressing… :(

  7. amk says:

    If the tumbling bot was designed to evoke a sympathetic response, it worked. The concentric ring bot is pretty cool, although I’m having a hard time imagining how it might be expanded to navigate beyond a flat surface. Both seem well built.

  8. MS3FGX says:

    The concentric ring movement is actually pretty amazing; surprising dexterity.

    Can’t think of many practical uses for such a thing, but it is a masterful bit of engineering to be sure.

  9. sarsface says:

    The tumbler bot reminded me of a wounded animal, kind of pitiful really.

  10. MIke says:

    The ring walker is really nice!! Just when you think every type of mechanical locomotion has been created this type of device shows up.

    VERY innovative. I think further design evolution could make it even more adaptable – just not sure how that would work. But its got me thinking.

    Nice post.

  11. jAMES says:

    that tumbling bot reminds me of a roach with broken legs. It was kind of creepy. some of his other robots though look like a lot more fun, i wouldn’t mind playing with his solar powered balls

  12. chris says:

    He should make one the size of a car and take it to burning man.

  13. Godi says:

    @chris, looks like if you donate him the money for it he’ll probably do it :)

  14. Paul says:

    Finally pulled up the video of the ring walker bot.
    I cant stop watching…

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