A year ago, Miles and I made our first Bristlebot – a small robot made from a toothbrush head, hearing aid battery, and the vibrating motor from a cell phone – which skitters around on flat surfaces in chaotic patterns.
The experiment didn’t end well – Miles grabbed a hot soldering iron by the shaft when I wasn’t looking and we had to segue into burn control. When that subsided, we had great fun racing the bot across the floor.
I just volunteered to help his entire second/third grade classroom build their own bristlebots this April. We’ll also try a variant with mint tins and paper clip legs. We plan to build a “sumo” ring they can push each other out of, and may also try our hand at bristlebot painting:
Found a good source for a battery + motor combo pack, which I’ll be ordering in bulk. Now just need to get my hands on a lot of toothbrushes!