If you’re lucky enough to live in a warmer climate this winter and have the urge to go to the beach, keep an eye out for any autonomous drawing robots as you head toward the water. More specifically, robots that are turtle-shaped.
Meet the “Beachbot,” an adorable little bot designed by Disney Research and ETH Zurich. Place Beachbot on the beach of your choice, and it moves around on his own, sketching designs or images into the sand. The various cartoons the robot creates are either pre-loaded or drawn by a programmer remotely, and in true Disney fashion, the robot can even draw characters, including Nemo from Finding Nemo. The 2-foot-long turtle-looking bot uses a rake attached to its tail to carve lines with various thicknesses into the sand.
Here’s a look at the Beachbot at work:
Programmers place white poles around a certain area in the sand, setting up the bot’s “canvas.” Then, the Beachbot uses a laser sensor to map out the area and scale the image correctly.
Disney Research teamed up with the Swiss engineering group to design a robot that would be interesting to watch — both while it was at work and after its creations were complete, according to ETH Zurich’s website. The Beachbot is intended for use on public beaches, so it probably won’t be available commercially. According to Beachbot’s Facebook page, the team showed off the robot’s talents at a Miami beach last December and again last week at Techfest in Mumbai, India. No word yet on where the bot will pop up in the future, but Disney beach resorts seem like safe bets.