Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Herbie the Mousebot

I assembled another one of my Christmas presents today. It's the Solarbotics, Herbie the Mousebot. Originally invented by Randy Sargent, Herbie was built from spare parts as an entry for a robot competition. Herbie is such an elegant, clever design using very few parts, it's been featured in as a construction project in "Junkbot, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels", "Absolute Beginner's Guide to Robots" and "MAKE" Magazine. When I connected the battery after assembly, nothing happened. I began to look the little bot over and disovered that I forgot to solder the tabs to the 9-volt battery hook-up. Oops! Two quick solder connections and everything worked perfectly.
Solarbotics has enhanced Herbie a bit with functional whisker and tail sensors, so it doesn't get stuck in corners while it chases around. Herbie the Mousebot is a 9-volt battery-powered robot that loves to chase flash light beams. If there are several Herbies in the same area, they can be configured to chase each other! (I did not install this feature yet, as it uses additional power and can shorten the battery life a bit. It basically involves installing and infra-red LED on the back of Herbie as a tail-light, which another Herbie can chase). Solarbotics says, "These little robots are so quick, you have to run to keep up to them!" They are not kidding!

Herbie documentation can be found here.
Note - much of the above is taken from the Solarbotics site at the link above.

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