A BristleBot is a tiny robot make from a toothbrush head, a small vibrating motor, and a battery. BristleBots were developed by EvilMadScientist Laboratories, and shared with the public in the Tinkering Studio as part of the Open MAKE: circuits event, during which we explored a variety of fun and instructive things to do with electric components.
Essentially, a BristleBot is a toothbrush head with a pager motor strapped to its back. It’s easy to make a vibrating motor by attaching an offset weight to its axle, but scavenging for discarded pager motors (nowadays more commonly found inside of cell phones) is also effective. The vibrations imparted by the motor flex the bristles of the toothbrush, and because of the angle of the bristles, propel the robot forward… more or less! Part of the fun of BristleBots is figuring out how to make them do what you want, and play with the placement of the motor, and ways to stabilize the whole contraption. We even built a couple of racetracks to test out the bots, and let them run around for a while.