[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”
very elegant solution.
great!!! now the site no longer responds
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.
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:
( ) /
it worked OK in most cases, but could get stuck in corners.
Not as nice or interesting a solution as the one shown here
Sorry, the diagram didn’t work
if your isp does not have any “no servers on residental account” you should be safe running the site from your own connection.
This is awesome. Nice work.
Reminds me of the DVD logo that bounces around the screen when it’s paused!
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
But will it ever bounce off the exact corner?
Yeah if you look at the first video where he stops the outer ring, and the wheels underneath do a full 360 all the while spinning.
This looks similar in principle to a LEGO bot I made several years ago: http://ben.com/LEGO/rcx/rock-stupid.html
The basic principle appears to be the same: It drives forward until it hits something and stalls the drive wheel. The stalled drive wheel forces the power to rotate the drive wheel instead until it can go in another direction.
Do you have any videos of your bot? It seems pretty interesting.
Sorry, no videos. That build predates YouTube by about 5 years and all my LEGO is stored in a closet at the moment.
Now I want to see someone use this as the ball in a real life game of Pong.
Very clever. And excellent Musical choice in the first video.
Also, there seems to be an influx of stove-top hacking going on.
Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)