What if there was a small robot especially designed to draw beautiful and fun models in the sand, that are seen only from above and resemble some of the most beautiful wonders of the world? Well, there is one !
A team from ETH Zurich and the Zurich division of Disney Research invented a robot, a cartoonish version of an actual turtle. Its dimensions are 60 cm long and 40cm wide and the drawings that it is able to make are a bit geometric versions of Disney favorites, as they would have been in the first touch of Disney when created as characters.
BeachBot is the name of the beautiful sand artist and it moves on wheels, two on the back and a steering one in the front. The fact that it is actually as sit unit is remarkable and important. This tiny robot moves under its own pressure and it can adjust pressure whenever it is needed to change something in the drawing.
The idea of building and putting together this beautiful machine is creating and algorithm that converts the images into trajectories that can be understood by the mechanism and operate de program on its own.
10 meter square area of sand is needed as “canvas”. For poles delimit the artistic part from the rest of the beach and there it goes ! A set of pins (every single one of them is completely risible, so that lines of different thickness can be created on “canvas”) are powerful enough to become a true sand artist in no time. How does it know where of how to move? Well it’s the piles that are his guidance, because it has a laser scanner built into it and the board computer (it is connected to Wi-Fi and it has an inertial measurement unit) can calculate the distance between itself and the poles.
Navigation starts in between the poles, with the mechanism described, through laser and IMU. While moving through the sand, the balanced and not hazardous pressure that is applied on the sand lets the drawing clean, even if the BeachBot already “stepped” over it a dozen times. The drawing is made only with big pressure and that is the difference when it starts to draw versus the time that is only passes by to measure the next step.
All in all, the Disney robot that draws on sand is a surprising curiosity to both children and adults and it is expected to create real-time shows for tourists internationally.
Image Source: Engadget