VibroBots

A VibroBot is a simple robot controlled by a single vibrating motor. It can be made from a toothbrush head or velvet and a few low-cost materials and can easily be modified for additional challenge. The vibrations from the motor travel down the bristles and cause the brush to move on flat surfaces.

VibroBot or Bristlebot

Materials:

  • Toothbrush Head
  • 3V Vibrating Motor 
  • 3V Coin Cell or Watch Battery
  • Foam Tape or Double-Sided Tape
  • Craft Eyes, Buttons, Pipe Cleaners (to customize it)

 Activity 1 - Building a VibroBot

  1. Find a toothbrush, we are only using its head. A good one has uniformly angled bristles. 
  2. Cover the surface of toothbrush with a piece of foam tape.
  3. Stick the vibrating motor near to the cut edge of the brush and stick the blue/black wire to the tape. Make sure that the rotating weight does not hit the toothbrush head.
  4. Place the button cell battery on top of the wire, making sure the negative side is in contact with the wire.
  5. Add the pipe cleaner legs (2 inches long) between the motor and the battery. Fold them down to the table surface. These legs are not just for decoration as they help stabilize the robot.
  6. Attach the craft eyes or buttons using some foam tape or hot glue.
  7. Finally stick the free cable to the positive side of the battery using some paper tape. (This cable will work as a switch)

Before placing the legs your VibroBot may fall sideways. Encourage students to experiment different solutions to stabilize it. 

Is it possible to get the VibroBot to run straight? Place the Motor and the battery centered on the toothbrush, flip the battery upside down so the Motor rotation changes its direction.

 

 Activity 2 - VibroBot Race

  1. Set three large pieces of wood or cardboard and place them parallel one to each other, leaving 1 inch of separation. This will force your VibroBots to go straight. 
  2. Place your VibroBots side by side in your racing tracks. 
  3. Release them at the same time. Check if the racing track needs any modification. If VibroBots get stuck you may need to make the racing tracks wider. 
  4. Use a stopwatch to record how long it takes each VibroBot to finish the race.

Analyze the results:

Which VibroBot won the race?

Which problems did your VibroBot experienced?

Think how you can make your VibroBot run faster.

 

 

ISTE Standards

4.c. Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.

4.d. Students demonstrate perseverance when working with open-ended problems.  

5.c. Students break down problems into smaller parts, identify key information and propose solutions.

5.d. Students understand and explore basic concepts related to automation, patterns and algorithmic thinking.

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