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Our latest Weekend Project will have you exploring the field of BEAM robotics, which… wait, did that Symet just move on its own accord? Yes, these BEAM Solar Chariots have a mind of their own! Well not really a mind, more like a nervous system that stores up solar power and then discharges it, producing movement. Inspired by nature, BEAM stands for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics, which both informs and inspires BEAM design and function. The Solar Roller and Symet both use the same circuit design, dubbed “solar engine,” named so for deriving its energy from solar light. With various technoscrap parts — we salvaged ours from an old micro-cassette player – and common components (transistors, resistors, LED, and capacitors) hooked up to a solar cell, you can build one of these little critters!

The Solar Roller move forward with bursts of energy, while the Symet spins around on its DC motor’s axle. Watch the video below to see both these vehicle being built and in action, then head over to the project page to start making your own BEAM critters!

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Nick Normal

I’m an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!


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Comments

  1. Tony Barnhill says:

    The wrong parts are listed in the video and on the project page. It should be a a 2N3904 and a 2N3906. Not two 2N3904. You need an NPN and a PNP transistor to work.

    1. Nick Normal says:

      hi Tony – Thanks for spotting that, we apologize for the video fubar. However on the project page I do see links to both NPNs and PNPs, 2N3904s and 2N3906s respectively (the PNP 2N3906 at the top of the second column of parts). The “(2)” quantity is simply to inform the maker that they’ll need two of each, in order to make one Solar Roller AND one Symet – hope that makes sense. Let me know if you’re still seeing something different.

  2. [...] understand the concepts of how components work (caps, resistors, etc). The cars are based on this: http://blog.makezine.com/2012/05/03/…-this-weekend/ That project isn't very exciting though because the vehicle barely moves. When the caps discharge, [...]

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