For my final, I intend to create a proto-swarm of small robots. Ideally, the bots are to be as small as possible; perhaps smaller than 10cm^3  per bot.  Creating such a small “creatures” will prove to be very challenging–all while simulating insect behaviors.

To quickly summarize,: observers will be given to the opportunity to see the natural beauty that are swarms of insects. Via purposeful movements and group communication, the swarm is to explore a dark terrain which will then be mapped out( with the help of on-board smart LEDs) via long exposure photography-or “light paintings”. A keen eye might notice that the paintings will represent an image of some kind. Whether pre-determined images or live footage is to be determined at this stage.

After bouncing a few ideas around with IMA fellow Nick we came to the conclusion that an ATtiny board. We noted a few disadvantages: low power and low memory. Efficiency will be a major design factor!

Locomotion became another hot topic, as ATtiny boards are not capable of delivering enough power for wheels with high friction coefficients

The idea of having vibration motors was considered as a workaround, however, stability and controllability became a  major concern.


Rudi and I spoke about many issues these bots could have as well as many insights as to how to approach the bots as efficiently as possible. More on that soon.

as for locomotion.

Tiny DC motors became a worthy solution item -using their shafts to directly propel the bot.

On to testing.

Rough motor placements–

Actual test with super light chassis–this is also one the most annoying things I have ever made.

All seems to work, it is a matter of motor angles and wire connection. Further testing with different chassis are a must.


Pintbot, Winkbot, Kilobot and a few others are a few robots that have similar hardware. Most prominently the motor shaft to ground solution for locomotion.

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