Saturday, December 9, 2006


I had an idea to build a device that would track the sun. And I wanted to take a video of it working, but not a video 10 hours long. At first I thought I could set up a tripod and take a picture every half hour, but that would only be 20 pictures, which is less than a second of video. Hey hey HEY, how about a Lego robot to automatically take pictures every 1 minute!

CamBot Mark 0 failed to press the button. A coworker gave me the idea to use pneumatics so I could get a better linear motion. I eventually got that built, but it wasn't strong enough. It was pretty cool, though. To save weight (and just be cool), I wanted to use a single motor to both pump up and pump down the piston. Here's a video of me explaining how that works: machine but totally useless. Then Mark II, which worked a lot better:

This one actually took pictures, which I could even stitch together into a movie, such as this test video:

Great stuff, Cambot! But here's the ironic part: The sun tracker never really did work well. Even after totally reprogramming it to adjust for differing sensor sensitivities and dampen fluctuations, it didn't ever do much better than this:

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