Fun & Games Robotics Workshop
One-Motor, All-Mechanical Obstacle Avoidance

OK, obstacle reflectance might be a better term, since this Lego Automatic Synchro Drive from YouTuber xyzzzach bounces off of obstacles, rather than actually avoiding them. But its design is so clever it deserves a bit of nomenclatural slack, IMHO. The entire ‘bot is surrounded by a spinning planetary-geared bumper. When the bumper contacts an object, it sticks, and its rotational momentum is transferred to a geared steering train that simultaneously rotates all four wheels, all of which are driven, away from the obstacle. And it’s all done with a single electric motor. Nice factory-style Lego assembly instructions here.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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