A trio of small, wheeled robots each beholden to a particular geo-tagged social web service, tethered together with elastic string, each attempting to pull the other towards the physical location of the most recent event on its particular social network.

A number of web services — Flickr, Twitter, etc. — receive updates with geo-tagged data at a remarkable rate. The proposed robots will receive wireless updates from a laptop with this latitude and longitude information (probably on the order of a few times per second).

Using this data and an onboard compass, they will steer toward the location of the most recent photograph / tweet / whatever, and then drive furiously in this direction. This will continue until they receive the latest geo data a bit later, at which point they will set a new course and proceed in that direction.

Since the three bots will be tethered to one another with a length of string, the hope is that they will occasionally get pulled in one direction or another by their neighbors, and perhaps eventually get tangled in the string to the point where they can’t move at all.

Alternately, the bots could lay down string in their wake… sketching their path, overlap, etc.

Parts List

  • 3x bot chassis (probably laser cut wood or plexi)
  • 6x stepper motors
  • 6x wheels
  • 3x small casters
  • 3x Arduinos
  • 3x digital compass modules
  • 4x xBees (3 for the bots, 1 for the laptop)
  • 1x xBee explorer
  • 1x length of elastic string (6 feet?)
  • 3x eyelets (for string)
  • 3x rechargeable batteries