What do you get when you combine a capacitor, some LEDs, and a solar cell? A B.E.A.M. Bug Bot! B.E.A.M. stands for Biology Electronics Aesthetics Mechanics which means that the robots are inspired by biology which means bugs.
Vic De Leon and Stewart Tansley, explained that the solar cell doesn’t put out enough power to drive the motor, but the capacitor can gather power and then release it. A capacitor works kind of like a glass of water, but instead of filling with water, it fills with electricity. When the glass is full, it dumps out the electricity. Photography flashes use big capacitors that gather electricity and then dump it out in the form of a flash.
One of the interesting things about these bugs is that they are set up with light sensors so that they are always going toward the light! Now that’s a clever little cute ecologically-friendly solar-powered robot!
Mark Tilden’s work inspired Vic and Stewart to make their bugbots. You can make one too! Both Solarbotics and Pagermotors.com have kits that have all the bits and bobs you need to put a little B.E.A.M. bugbot together!
This is the first of many videos about Maker Faire 2006!