The photopopper is a breed of robots known as a photovore. Its purpose is to seek light, and avoid obstacles.
The main features of the photopopper are:
- Solar powered - the photopopper is driven by light energy and is therefore self sufficient
- Touch Sensors - two 'feelers' on the front left and right of the photopopper allow it to detect and avoid obstacles before they stop is forward movement
- Miller Solar Engine (SE) - the Miller SE is a method of triggering when the robot moves, this is done on the basis of how much power it has stored up from the solar
cell. If the solar cell was merely connected to the motors, the power would be used up within the motors without any resulting movement as it is too low to drive the motors. So the power instead is stored in a capacitor
and released only when there is enough.
The photopopper can be bought as a kit from totalrobots (UK), or Solarbotics (U.S). In the kit
you are provided with all the parts needed to make the photopopper, but the tools you will need to supply yourself. On my photopopper I have upgraded the solar cell to give a faster robot, and created a
quick attaching mechanism for the solar cell so that it can be quickly removed and put on another robot (inspired by Mike Scharf Robobugs).
The photopopper uses a 4700 micro farad capacitor, a 3906 PNP transistor, a 3904 NPN transistor, two 1381J voltage triggers, two IR detectors, a 100K trimming potentiometer (Trim Pot), two pager motors, two 0.22 micro farad capacitors, 2 2.2kOhm resistors and two 680 kOhm resistors.