RC Bristlebot Shifts Weight For Steering

This large bristlebot has no prolem steering itself by shifting its weight. It’s easy enough to watch the video after the break and see how this works. But there’s still the same air of “I can’t believe that actually works” which we experienced with the original bristlebot.

This is not the first attempt to calm a bristlebots movements, but we don’t remember seeing one you could drive around like an RC car. [Glajten] up-sized the bot with what appears to be a small shop broom cut in half, creating a catamaran design. The vibrating motor, which might have come out of a gaming controller, rides on the back of the bot, centered between the two bristle platforms. On the front a servo motor holds the shaft of a long bolt which has extra weight at the end of it. Steering happens when the weight is offset by a turn of the servo.

[youtube=http:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL_88papBLg%5D

[Thanks Bret via SaskView]

39 thoughts on “RC Bristlebot Shifts Weight For Steering

  1. Pretty cool homemade design, but I doubt it’s very practical. Part of the reason bristle brushes are used is to get that “deep down” scrub that requires some weight behind the brush to get in between cracks and into dirty surfaces.

    Kind of reminds me of those mechanical toothbrushes — a fun novelty, but not necessary at all. I guess if you have a hard time disciplining your kids (or roommates) into keeping the place clean, this would be an alternative to use as a bribe.

  2. @supershwa
    You missed the point. It’s a super-cheap RC car that doesn’t need wheels/motors on the wheels.

    That is awesome. Please post it, I would like to “borrow” your design. =D

  3. I think everyone so far has missed the point of the video.
    The unusual aspect of the video is that there is a letterbox in the door, yet the stairs seen to the right of the door, clearly go down. this means that the postman has to go upstairs to post any letters.

    Advanced postman training done right.

  4. @strider_mt2k: exactly ^_^ just fit an inverted bowl over the electronics, paint on some eyes and eyebrows, and you’ve got an RC Scrubbing Bubble.

    @anon: anything like this big enough to move the Shuttle would likely vibrate so much it’d destroy the Shuttle.

  5. What about a circular broom that spins with a shifting center of gravity. Similar to those big floor waxers that you lift up or down on the handle to get it to move to where you want.

  6. You could probably miniaturize it using two electromagnets with a mettle swing arm in the middle so when you terned on a magnet it pulled the swing arm to one side. You might have to use a spring to pull the arm back to center.

  7. This is not the first attempt to calm a bristlebots movements, but we don’t remember seeing one you could drive around like an RC car.

    There is something oddly amusing about watching this thing.

  8. Quite impressive how well this handles for such a simple mechanism!

    I recall a device that was (falsely) claimed to produce reactionless thrust. There’s a pseudoscience-free description of how it really worked on Wikipedia, the page on Reactionless drive, and the section on Oscillation thruster. The technique described there should give a nice speed boost if anyone is interested in hot rodding their brush-bot.

    And yes, this ‘bot remind me of a scrubbing bubble too!

  9. Oscillation…Overthruster?



    -a woman named JOHN??

    -but in all seriousness

    I started thinking about scaling down the steering for toothbrushes and wondered if the steering mechanism from a Zip-Zap or similar micro RC car would work to throw a small weight left and right for a similar effect?

    It seems to me that a regular gear motor could be used in place of the steering servo in a pinch as well on the large one.

    Why do these projects made of scrap grab me?
    (probably because at heart they are simple enough concepts for me to work with in my brain)


  10. Just use two vibrators (both controlled, placed above each of the brush) and you do not need a servo. Cheaper, and easier to build, plus no heavy moving parts :).
    The design is from late 70’s.

  11. @strider
    Ah, a fellow member of the Hong Kong Cavaliers.

    I wonder how the optimum vibration frequency is linked to bristle stiffness (and probably length). Maybe using very still (carbon fibre?) bristles and ultrasonic piezos you could make tiny bristlebots that move silently. To the human ear, anyway. Multiple bristle ‘pontoons’ with multiple piezos would allow for steering, and a triad of actuators in a ring should allow full holonomic control (assuming bristle actuators are bidirectional/can be made bidirectional).

  12. The vibro motor out of a Nintendo game cube controller works exceptionally well. as it has no external rotating weight an looks wicked cool because of the no moving parts effect the bristle bot has when built with that. and powered off a 9v battery, its quite intense.

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