Hand Cranked Electric Toy Has No Batteries Or Power Supply

We think this hand cranked robot design is nothing short of absolute brilliance. The toy is remote-controlled through a short section of wire. It can drive forward and turn, but not at the same time. Still that’s impressive considering it uses no battery or power supply and, of the two servo motors, only one is actually in the robot itself.

The second servo, which is visible to the right, acts as a dynamo. When you crank it electricity is generated. The inputs of that servo are connected to the inputs of the one in the robot to power it. If you crank in one direction the colorful toy will drive forward. But there is a one-way catch on one of the side wheels so when the servo is cranked backward the little guy actually executes a reverse turn. The magic of building a project like this is perfect for a weekend activity with the kids. Don’t miss the demo embedded after the jump.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

20 thoughts on “Hand Cranked Electric Toy Has No Batteries Or Power Supply

  1. Uuuuhh, isn’t the hand cranky thing technically a power supply? Well, I guess the human is the power supply, then… Let’s cut to the chase — the sun is the power supply. This is a solar powered toy.

      1. Except for geothermal or nuclear powered machines.

        People overlook it all the time, but it is an alternate energy stream.

        If you want to get pedantic, the sun is also using nuclear energy, and some geothermal is based off of radioactive decay heat in the core.

        So it’s mostly nuclear. :P

      2. I had the same thought as the original poster: This design clearly has a power supply — the human.

        — but that you’re all being nuts and talking about how everything is solar / nuclear — I do have to ask the inevitable stupid question (it’s how I learn):

        How is a battery solar powered? It’s a chemical reaction in an enclosed environment. Are you counting some random step in the manufacturing process? Because, I’m pretty sure all you need is two chunks of metal (different types?), and an electrolytic fluid of some kind.

        And don’t give that “atoms are forged in stars, everything is made from star dust” excuse — that’s the easy way out. I really want to know what you guys are talking about.

  2. I used to do the same thing with my old first-generation Lego mindstorms motors. It totally blew my mind when I connected a wire wrong and the other motor moved when I turned the one I was holding.


    1. It is weird though that he’s using servos when he could just use regular DC motors… other than the crank mount he’s got (which clearly came with the servo), what advantages does using two servos here give him (versus just using two DC motors)?

  3. @ Mikey all of the energy on this Earth originates in the Sun. Think about it. A vegetable grows with sunlight, water and nutrients from the soil. The soil is decomposed plants, that once got their energy from the sun. That gas in your car was once ancient dinosaurs and plants, that ate food, that grew because of the energy from the Sun. It all leads back to the sun, and yes, we are indeed made of stars.

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