On a grassy patch at Maker Faire, Jared Ficklin and his brother Joey built a rectangular wooden frame, filled with sand — you could be forgiven for thinking it looks a bit like a sandbox — for their robot, called the Zen Gardner. A small control panel on one side let Fairegoers drive the bot, which was equipped with spurs to rake the sand into patterns, the way a Zen master might.
“I wanted to get people thinking,” says Ficklin. “The whole point is to rake the garden yourself.” If the Zen Gardner is so un-Zen, maybe it shouldn’t even exist. But, he admits, “it’s a lot of fun to drive.”