BAMF 2014: Racing Snail video from Hackaday

Part of our continuing coverage of highlights from the 2014 Bay Area Maker Faire.

Mike from hackaday caught up with me at Maker Faire and got a bit of video of my racing snail, which I was showing as an example of soft circuitry alongside various projects of our friend Meredith, including her awesome StarBoard flexible circuit LEDs. Mike’s writeup points to the history and variety of Bristlebot projects. The racing snail is a personal favorite, with the nap of the fabric foot providing the direction to the bot’s motion.

A velvet bristlebot racing snail

Field Trips: Tide Pools at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Fitzgerald 5

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
 is a protected marine and intertidal park located at Moss Beach, California, about 40 minutes south of San Francisco, just north of Half Moon bay.  It’s a spectacular place to visit at low tide, for some of the finest, most accessible tide pools in the region.

Fitzgerald 30

And as you’ll see, there’s definitely a lot to look at.

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A Velvet Bristlebot Racing Snail

A velvet bristlebot racing snail

A few weeks ago we showed you how to build a BristleBot, a tiny vibrating robot (vibrobot) that is formed from the unlikely union of a toothbrush (with directional bristles) and a vibrating pager motor. Despite its simplicity, it drives like a drunken bat out of hell– propelled by the ratcheting action of the vibrated bristles.

Of course, toothbrushes aren’t the only system where you can find find oriented bristles. Approaching this process from an entirely different perspective, it turns out that certain types of velvet can also form a directional bristle system that can be driven with vibrations. Here we build a plush racing snail– a velvet vibrobot that crawls forward… at a snails pace.
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Escargot Grand Prix

How fast are your garden snails?
Are they faster when you threaten them with garlic butter?
How do they leave dotted lines in their wake?
And what are you going to do with the built-in iSight camera on your new Mac?

Answer all of these questions at once with Gawker, a cute little GPL’d mac program that makes making time lapse movies a cinch.

Watch a 30-second quicktime clip of my garden here (1.7 MB quicktime .MOV). The video quality suffers a little from variable lighting [stupid moving clouds!] and the tiny lens.

Go snails go!
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