The Lego Synchro Drive

[M-byte] wrote in to tell us about the Lego Synchro Drive. Although not a new hack, this autonomous vehicle is quite amazing in it’s simplicity.  Using only one motor turning at a constant speed, this device is able to navigate obstacles by simply turning.

As [m-byte] was quick to point out, this is a simple task using modern electronics, but this drive is made using only Lego Technic parts. The machine’s motion is quite pleasing. When it hits an obstacle, the outer rotating ring stops, allowing the casters on the bottom to switch direction. One could see this invention coming out of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook (minus the Legos).

Check out either of the embedded videos after the break to see this device in action. If you’d like to build one yourself, follow this link for very well illustrated directions.



If you would like a quick refresher on the mechanical side of hacking, check out this Mechanical Engineering Primer.

16 thoughts on “The Lego Synchro Drive

    1. That’s because of all the fresh traffic hackaday is giving it. Try back later, it’ll calm down. And, try to relax a little. It’s just the internet, man. It’s not like it’s important.

      Nifty vehicle, by the way. I like that it can get away from walls with no brainpower, just clever gears. Kind of reminds me of this little beetle robots, ran off of two electric motors. It had two antennas, which stuck out of the front of it. When they bumped a wall, they bent backwards a little, pushing a switch, which shut one motor off and left the other running, meaning the robot would turn away from the wall. Very very simple, no computer components. I like simple, elegant robots.

  1. A while back, I made a obstacle-avoiding vehicle that was even simpler. it just used a wedge on the point, the rear wheels were driven, and the front wheel was just a castor, roughly like this:

    (wheel) \
    (castor) \
    ( ) /
    (wheel) /

    it worked OK in most cases, but could get stuck in corners.
    Not as nice or interesting a solution as the one shown here

    1. Yeah. This way it would be possible to build something like that in real life. I.e. take some cardboard box, paint the inside black and then throw one of these with a DVD logo stuck to its top in there. :D

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.