BEAM turns 20

BEAM turns 20

Speaking of BEAM robotics, this “school” of robotic architecture celebrated its 20th anniversary on Nov 10th. Twenty years ago, on that date, BEAM creator Mark Tilden built his first BEAMbot, the Solarover 1.0, out of two dead calculators, two dead Phillips cassette mechanisms, and parts from Laser printer cartridges. Solarbotics has a little celebratory post, with some thoughts from Mark Tilden. Mark writes:

…I went on to build dozens of similar robots based on the primitive Solarengine neurons that year, which led to the BEAM International Robot games, international lectures, the 1992 Santa Fe Artificial Life conference (lecturing alongside Brooks), publications, books, TV, kits, Solarbotics, Los Alamos National Laboratory research, NASA, and a broad line of WowWee robots which have sold around 20 million units to date (not forgetting the thousands of hand-built robots by colleagues, enthusiasts, and steampunks internationally).

Oh, and Solarbotics is also having a sale of a bunch of BEAMbots and components through the end of the month.

20 Years of BEAM Technology

BEAM coverage on Make: Online

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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