Make:06 Trimet... hmmm.

Posted on 11 December 2006 in Robotics

I've just realised that I posted about receiving a package from Solarbotics a while back -- but I've been silent about the results. The bits were the parts for the "Trimet" from Make magazine, issue 6, along with a book called the Absolute Beginners Guide to Building Robots, and the parts required for the robots designed in there. I've never been much of a hardware hacker, but spending half my time coding and the other half messing around with the business side of running a company has made me keener on spending the, uhm, other half somewhere away from a computer screen. And, being a good geek, how better to spend that time than on building our new robot overlords.

Time constraints mean that I've only been able to build the Make Trimet, a solar-powered thingy that uses the power from light shining on it to move, pretty much randomly. And while I can imagine that in sunny southern California, herds of these creatures jig cheerfully across the desert, in the wintertime UK they are somewhat less active:

Robot not moving

Well, what can you expect - we all get a little sluggish in the runup to Christmas. But just as Seasonal Affective Disorder is meant to be banished by bright light, a torch (flashlight for our american cousins) can help the Trimet -- or, at least, a 1,500,000 candlepower torch can:

Robot twitching slightly

(In case you're wondering, the apparent dimming of the lights when the torch switches on is simply my phone's camera adjusting its brightness settings to allow for the sudden influx of excess photons... ambient light was actually the same throughout. It's a bright torch.)

I guess the Trimet races will have to wait until July.