The SlugRobots were originally supposed to be a kinetic sculpture for my IAT 337 - Representation and Fabrication course. Using rapid prototyping techniques like 3D printing and laser cutting the brief was targeted towards the creation of a high-fidelity automaton toy with a theme of nature vs. technology. We wanted to analyze the creation of sound and movement so what started as a series of music boxes that connected together to make various noise turned into four slowly moving creatures that produced noise and would act in unison if they sensed another nearby.
Each SlugRobot has an Arduino microcontroller that runs two motors, one for a 3D printed cylinder with pins and bells (similar to a music box) and one to control the movement of the robot in a process similar to locomotion. An Atari Punk Console works with an electronic reed and the cylinder to create sound. An infrared emitter and sensor are placed on the tail and hang from the head to allow the SlugRobot to communicate with others and sync up the speed at which the cylinder turns (and thus the noise that's generated).
For more information on the project please visit our website.