BEAM is a school of robotics, originally the brainchild of Dr. Mark W. Tilden, formerly a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory. BEAM robots are cheap, simple, and can be built with basic skills in a matter of hours.

BEAM is an acronym standing for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, Mechanics:
* Biology It's tough to beat 4 billion years of evolution; the world around us is a wonderful source of inspiration.
* Electronics BEAM robotics, strives for rich behaviours from simple circuits.
* Aesthetics This just means your creations should look good.
* Mechanics A clever mechanical design, can reduce the complexity of the rest of the robot.

 

BEAM robotics basically starts from 3 philosophical tenets:
* Use minimalist electronics
* Recycle & reuse components out of technoscrap
* Solar power your critter if possible

While BEAM robots are often simple (consisting of a solar cell , motor, 2 transistors , and capacitor ), robots as complicated as 8-jointed, 4-legged walking spiders have been built using the principles of BEAM.

Web links:

Solarbotics Ltd
http://www.solarbotics.com/
Based in Canada, Solarbotics offers robot kits, parts and information on the expanding field of BEAM Robotics.

solarbotics.net
http://www.solarbotics.net/
Solarbotics.net is a BEAM robotics community server, were people have posted lots of BEAM info.

PiTronics Robots
http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbolt/e-index.html
Designs for true "Photovores", powered by light. A range of robots with lots of details: SunEater, Happy Robot, Son of Photovore etc.

 

Books

Junkbots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels -
building simple robots with BEAM technology
Dave Hrynkiw, Mark W. Tilden