Monday, September 7, 2009

Mousey the Junkbot

Mousey the Junkbot
Gareth Branwyn | Make Vol. 02 - 2005 | Pdf | 14 pgs | 3 mb

This project turns an analog computer mouse into a robot that'll delight friends and wow workmates down on the cube farm. Mousey's behavior is fittingly mouse-like. It scoots quickly across the floor, thanks to lively little motors. And when the critter crashes into anything, it speeds off in the opposite direction.

The robot's "brains" are an ingenious hack based on an audio operational amplifier (op-amp), an 8-pin chip that's normally used to drive answering machine speakers and other lo-fi equipment. Following Randy Sargent's pioneering design (see page 102 , Mousey repurposes this chip to boost light-sensor input to motor-powerable levels. The result is simple, fast-reacting analog circuitry that fits inside a mouse case.

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