The New Home of Roller-Bot

By Paul L. Discher
Industrial and Educational Consulting -- St. Louis Missouri

A flashlight activated miniature robot built on a paint roller.

What is roller-bot?

The Roller-bot is a dumb, battery powered light activated, micro - robot built on an unlikely platform, a SHUR-LINE disposable paint roller. The Roller-Bot is project evolved from my personal fascination with minimal engineering. When the concept is employed as a student enrichment / motivation project Roller-Bot seeks to inspire innovative design while employing minimal materials. This is a project that can be adapted to a variety of Student enrichment activities including, competitions, and promotional events. Futhermore it is a project that promotes creative thinking, the conseravite use of the earth's natural and man made assets while doing so in an era of heightened concern for the future of our planet and us.

Roller-Bot I March 1999

Roller-Bot I was originally concieved as a laboratory project for my EE151 class, but was first deployed as a make & take promotional project for Engineers Week March 1999 by the Washington University student chapters of Engineers-Council and IEEE at Washington University. Pictured below, students assembling roller-bots at the March 1999 Engineers Week event in the student union. (photo: Washington University RECORD)

The Roller-Bot project was a design intended to demonstrate 'minimal-engineering" as well as requiring few parts and tools for final assembly. Pre-fabrication of the roller chassis by sponsors allows deployment in a venue where user assembly can commence with virtually no tools. About 55 Roller-Bots were built and given away in 1999. An example of sponsor pre-production process is illustrated in the photos above: assembly work being performed by WU engineering student, Dougal Cullen.

Roller-Bot II August 1999

I introduced Roller-Bot II, a second generation and an altered design of Roller-Bot I in a make-and-take promotion for the Washington University Electrical Engineering Department Open House, August 20, 1999.

Projects bearing the make-and-take declaration were inspired by the peer sharing practice and my affiliation with the St. Louis Area Physics Teachers, an affiliate of the American Association of Physics Teachers, this 20 year old organization maintains a legacy in the enhancement and support of science education in the greater St. Louis region.

Roller-Bot III February 2008

Roller-bot III was (is to be) presented as a paper in an open peer sharing session of the St. Louis Area Physics Teachers on Feburay 9, 2008. The new version of Roller-Bot has redeployed base elements of the bot for easier access and modifications. In addition some circuit modifications were added to improve stability.
  • Feb 9 Physics Teachers Paper: The Roller-Bot III
  • Student Kit single page assembly instructions
  • Donations to the free Roller-Bot project are appreciated and accepted at Paypal:
    Paypal ID:

    Roller Bot I March 1999

    Roller-Bot I which was deployed, March 1999 at the promotion of Engineers Week, Washington University in St. Louis, sponsored by the WU student chapter of IEEE. The original Roller-Bot I Instructions Mar 1999

    Roller Bot II August 1999

    I personally deployed Roller-Bot II at the August 20 1999 and was a "make-and-take" promotion featured at the annual Electrical Engineering Department Open House. This was one of the most successful, and best attended open house events in 10 years. The original Roller-Bot II Instructions Aug 1999

    Roller Bot III February 2008

    Roller-Bot III is intended as an expanded platform for student experimentimentaion and it includes several modifications one notable change is a fully exposed prototyping pad, and the repositioning of the battery in a more forward arrangement.

    Copyright 1999, 2008 - Roller-Bot -- Roller-Bot III Paul L. Discher