Engadget reader Andreas Baumgart is a more progressive Lego-Mindstorm-hobbyist. This can be seen in his project blog at first glance. With his sand-art robot, a DIY implementation of the Sisyphus Table by Bruce Shapiro *, he has turned to us:
The “Billund Table” is a LEGO Mindstorms-based design, which moves a magnet by means of a rotary and linear movement beneath a glass plate.
Above the glass plate are finest sand as well as a steel ball. This ball is moved by the magnet across the plate through the sand.
In order to ensure the smooth running of the ball, the construction, the magnetic forces and the resistance of the sand to be overcome had to be brought into harmony.
The goal was to keep the design as simple as possible. After all, the attention of the viewer should be directed to the event above the table.
A special programming lets the ball draw patterns continuously into the sand. At the same time, the speed was chosen so that it draws its tracks virtually silently and thus soothing, almost meditative, to the viewer.
* Bruce Shapiro’s Sisyphus Table
Timelapse Sisyphus 1 from Bruce Shapiro on Vimeo.