Hamster Powered Strandbeest

hamster_strandbeest

Gakken magazine featured a miniature wind-powered Strandbeest recently, converting it to run on everything from rubber bands to solar power. [Crabfu] thought it would be worthwhile to hack the Strandbeest kit that shipped with the magazine as well, so he started to brainstorm.  Well-known for his steam powered hacks previously featured here, he did originally consider adding a steam plant to the walker.  In the end, he scrapped that idea due to concerns about heat and weight.  Thinking about it further he settled on something he considered ridiculous, even stupid: A hamster powered Strandbeest.

[Crabfu] added a few components including a hamster ball and a simple chain drive from a Meccano building set before testing the device with a toy train as the power source.  Once he was certain that he had the proper gear ratio set, in went a friend’s hamster.  The device worked wonderfully, much to the delight of his nieces, as you can see in the video on his site.

Outerspace: reactive robotics

While Outerspace may not have an extremely useful function, being an art installation, we really enjoyed reading through the build information. Basically, Outerspace is supposed to appear to be curious, exploring it’s surroundings and reacting to your contact. We do enjoy a little bit of personality in robots, so this seems like it could be fun.  The head has 5 photo sensors and each piece of the “arm” has capacitive sensors. This allows Outerspace to sense what is going on. The motion itself is controlled by 4 servos in the base pulling cables that run through the body.

The programming seems like it could use a little work to achieve the effect of being “curious”, but we see potential here. You can see a video of it in action here.

[via today and tomorrow]

Crabfu challenge winners announced

The Trossen Robotics Blog has announced the winners of the “Crabfu challenge”. The challenge, issued by [Crabfu] was to make a robot that was full of character. It didn’t have to have a purpose or be autonomous, it just had to be full of character.

The first place winner, pictured above, won us over when he “blinked” a few moments into his video. Strange how something so simple can add so much life. [Read more...]

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