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Lab 1: Building Bristlebots

This week in lab we built Bristle Bots, tiny robots made of toothbrushes! They were really simple to make and the result was very cool. Anyone can make one of these simple robots.

Parts Required:

  • 3v battery
  • small magnet
  • toothbrush head
  • double sided foam tape
  • tiny motor
bristle-bot-parts

Step 1: Attach Double Sided Foam Tape

Stick some of the double sided foam tape to the top of the toothbrush head. This will give us a platform to stick the other components on top of in the next few steps.IMG_2095

Step 2: Attach Battery and Motor

Make sure that you stick one lead from the motor to the bottom of the battery, and one lead will remain hanging on top of the battery so that we can make the connection on and off using the tiny battery.IMG_2097

Step 3: Place magnet on top to start the motor

Once you place your magnet on top, the motor will start whirling away. The motor basically makes vibrations, similar to when you put your cell phone on vibrate or silent mode. These vibrations transfer through the toothbrush bristles and cause the Bristlebot to move around.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 2.41.33 AM

Step 4: Optional, Add an LED light to your bot

You can optionally add a light emitting diode to your bot. Be sure to follow the correct polarity of the LED when you attach it to the battery. Unfortunately, the LED draws some of the power from the battery, so the motor does not vibrate as strongly and your bot moves around much slower, but it gives your bot a really cool looking effect.

IMG_2102

Final Result

This is what your bot will look like in action! Stay tuned for more fun and interesting labs in the coming weeks, and please comment if you have any questions.

Reading Response: The Medium is the Message

Reading Response to: The Medium is the Message by Marshall McCluhan

A medium is the vehicle for delivering a message, but Marshall McCluhan claims that as technology has evolved, the medium itself has become the message. The author gives an example of how new technology, in this case “automation” by machines, can disrupt social patterns by eliminating jobs in the workplace. At the same time, automation creates new roles and specialization. However, it was not the machines themselves (the medium) that caused this disruption, it was how people used the machines.

Electric light is typically a medium without a message, but the information that is transmitted through light is actually another medium, so McClauhan deduces that every medium’s content is really just another medium.

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