Tag Archives: bristlebots

Bristlebots by Klutz?

Some of our friends went to the NY Toy Fair (check out Make’s coverage— it looks like it was a lot of fun!) and came across a new offering from Klutz: “Invasion of the Bristlebots.” We were never contacted by Klutz (or Scholastic), which we find surprising, being that we are the instigators of the current brush-based vibrobot movement, and the coiners of the term bristlebot. Here’s our original story from 2007: Bristlebot: A tiny directional vibrobot. And here’s a round-up of some of the amazing reaction from the DIY community to this news from the toy fair:

Thanks to all of you for your support! We’re still figuring out how to react to this, and we’re waiting for comment from Klutz and Scholastic. We’ll try to update this post as additional stories and information arise.

Update: I’ve been adding news links above, and here’s the official statement from Klutz:

Update 2 (Feb. 20, 12:53pm PST): I just got off of a good phone conversation with Klutz and we’re exploring how we can get acknowledgment for Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Update 3 (Feb. 20, 4:45pm PST): Pat Murphy of Klutz will be sending out a note shortly to let everyone know that Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories will be receiving acknowledgment in the next printing of Invasion of the BristleBots as well as on the Klutz website. This is good news for us, and it seems like Klutz is really learning from this experience about how to work with the maker community. The online response to this situation has been overwhelming and I am glad that such an incredibly vibrant discussion was able to take place. I am truly impressed by and grateful for the support we have received.

Update 4: Here’s Pat’s note:

20 millicenturies of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories


Happy birthday to us! Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is now two years of age. Collected below is a “Best of Evil Mad Scientist” for the past year: Some of our favorite projects that we’ve published over the last twelve months. Here’s to the next year!

Quick projects:

Set of bands
Rubberbands made from old bicycle innertubes.

vertical light tent setup
Light tent made from a lampshade.

Still life with yellow paper (group shot 2)
Chip bugs


Spool spinner from an old fan.

Quick C to D adapter
The $1.00 C to D adapter

Electronics projects

Weekend Projects Podcast!
How to make a Joule Thief from Make: Weekend Projects.

lights off?
How to make a dark-detecting LED night light.

The Great Internet Migratory Box Of Electronics Junk
The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronic Junk

Finished 1
How to make a Sawed-off USB Key

AVR microcontroller projects

Using an ADXL330 accelerometer with an AVR microcontroller

Snapper - 09

Kit Projects

AVR Target Boards

Four Panels 2
Interactive Table Kits

Resist1- Wall hanging

Peggy v 2.0

Crafty Projects

Q*bert close-up

vintage software book handbag
Software Handbag

iPod inside
iPod cozy

Earrings 2
Fimo Fractals

Miniature Art Car
Mini Art Cars

New wing
Umbrella Bat Costume v 2.0

Food Hacking

Cooking hotdogs

555 LED flasher 1
Circuitry Snacks

Googly FSM
Edible Googly Eyes

Sierpinski Cookies-11
Fractal Cookies


Sugar Chain
Printing complex shapes: Sugar Chain

Before and after 2
Candyfab improvements: higher resolution and edible output


Usage 3: First operand
Rotary Fraction Adding Machine

toner - 15
Electric Origami

Observations & silly projects:

Cat volume computation
Volume of a cat

Pacman Halloween

Lego Projects:

Lego Shooter
Forbidden Lego review & build

Technic Bits
Efficient Lego Storage


suction tool
Obscure electronics tools

Lee Valley & Veritas catalog
Lee Valley & Veritas Catalog Review


Twisted leads (close-up)
LED Stoplight

All the parts
hp2600n - 178
HP Color LaserJet 2600n

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and CandyFab at MakerFaire!

Attention SF Bay Area folks: Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and CandyFab are coming to Maker Faire! Space-time coordinates: San Mateo, CA, May 3-4, 2008.

We’ll be there in force with (amongst other things) a tabletop BristleBot Arena and great progress to show off on a lot of our upcoming projects: Next generation interactive LED coffee table panels, the debut of Peggy 2.0, and the brand new design for the CandyFab 5000, all of which we’ll be writing much more about this summer. Find us in the south hall, past the Tesla coils.

Great things are coming to Maker Faire, and you can come visit, get a sneak preview and chat.

We’ll sure hope to see you there. Advance tickets are on sale at a discount through Friday April 25.

Tales from the Auxiliary

The Evil Mad Science Auxiliary is a public group on Flickr for anyone to add photos that are (at least marginally) related to posts and projects from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.
Lately some fantastic photos and projects have shown up in the group, so we thought that we should stop and round up a few– not all– of the great things that we’ve seen there.

The photos below were taken by their respective owners; click on the individual photos to get the full story.



A dark detector built by cyenobite, using a tiny battery holder.


Joule Thief 1




Beautiful Joule Thief light by Jimmie Rodgers




Rewired 16seg POV display: Shift registers!   

Adam Greig has been having fun with AlphaPOV. (Results here.)


Macro shots with light ring   Bristlebot version IIBristlebot version II   Cheapest bot on Earth

Francesco (Flickr user fdecomite) made this amazing army of BristleBots, photographed with the help of his spiffy LED ring light. He even made some excellent videos of the little guys in action.


LED arrays   Homebrew toy blaster effects

Steve Lodefink has been busy building up this set of electronics for an extra-spiffy handlheld blaster. Based on 555 and 4017 chips, it has some elements in common with our little cylon circuit. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s done!


SP_A0133   SP_A0130SP_A0112

Channon (Flickr user plik the geek) is building up one of our interactive LED kits.

He also decorated his office printer with an overly honest label. (Coincidentally, we also did this to our own office printer.)



Finished circuits!

Speaking of interactive LED kits, A Oli Wood contributed this fabulous time exposure of his completed circuit.

So… If you’ve got pictures or projects that were in some way inspired by our projects, we would as always love to see them in the Auxiliary. And to everyone who has contributed, thanks for your cool pictures!

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.
Continue reading A Velvet Bristlebot Racing Snail

Bristlebot: A tiny directional vibrobot


The BristleBot is a simple and tiny robot with an agenda. The ingredients? One toothbrush, a battery, and a pager motor. The result? Serious fun.
(YouTube video here.)

The BristleBot is our take on the popular vibrobot, a simple category of robot that is controlled by a single vibrating (eccentric) motor. Some neat varieties include the mint-tin version as seen in Make Magazine (check the video), and the kid’s art bot: a vibrobot with pens for feet.
Continue reading Bristlebot: A tiny directional vibrobot