B.I.O.-Bug Vivisection
Vivisection is the act of operating on living creatures for scientific advancement. Well, let's see what we can do with a perfectly good B.I.O. Bug. You may also wish to review the video of some of these in action!

-By Dave Hrynkiw, Solarbotics Ltd. , August 22, 2001
[with just a few editorial tweaks by Conan the Librarian]


BIOBug 1 - Predator


BIOBug 2 - Stomper


BIOBug 3 - Destroyer


BIOBug 4 - Acceleraider

From what I can tell, the only differences between B.I.O. Bugs 2, 3, & 4 is the angle of attack of their front set of legs. B.I.O. Bug 1 and 2 have the same geometry, but there seems to be a behavioral difference in the Predator that makes it more aggressive (according to the documentation). This has not been entirely confirmed, and we'll look further into this.

Let's look at our vivisection victim...

BIOBug Predator

This is our patient, a B.I.O. Bug 1 - Predator (hereafter referred to as the "B.I.O. Bug"). Friendly-looking sort, isn't it? Well GET OVER IT. This is the Predator -- apparently, it'll even attack it's own species.

Lets take a closer look at it...


This is the underside of the B.I.O. Bug. Straightforward layout: Horizontally moving rear legs, with front legs angled upwards at a 45 degree angle of attack. Battery compartment located mid-rift, almost exactly at the center of gravity of the device. Access to the batteries is only by unscrewing a single phillips-head screw, revealing a removable quad-AA carrier where the batteries reside.

Also on the bottom are the "power/sleep" switch, and the "reset" switch (very necessary for bringing a B.I.O. Bug out of "B.I.O. Bug failure").

Biobug head

This is the head of the beasty, containing a pair of eye-socket sensors, a forehead module (more on these later), and the forward tactile sensor pair. The sensors are particular Tildenesque, using a very flexible spring surrounded by metal sleeve.

Biobug eye

This is the eye module, containing a tri-colour LED indicator, mounted behind a forward/outward aimed IR receiver, which seems to smack of the Sharp OPIC series, containing the sensor and demodulation circuitry. The LED colour & number of blinks indicates the learned "skill level".

Not shown is the forehead module, containing a single red LED and an IR LED transmitter. The red LED seems only to indicate battery state, as it seems only come on near the end of the battery's life.

Biobug Butt

Here's the posterior of the B.I.O. Bug, where the single rear tactile sensor and IR receiver is mounted. Don't be fooled by the LED-shape - upon close examination, it is apparent that an IR transistor is mounted here, and the wiring leads up to the head-IR modules.

Flicking this single posterior sensor prompts the B.I.O. Bug to go directly forward, in "double-time" mode. This is interesting, as it suggests that the default walking behaviour is throttled back to about 60%. This makes some sense, as it would extend battery life considerably.

Angle of Attack

Front AOA closeup

The Predator B.I.O. Bug is one of two B.I.O. Bugs with a 45 degree angle-of-attack on the front legs. ALL the B.I.O. Bugs have their rear legs swinging in an arc parallel with walking surface, but the Destroyer B.I.O. Bug has the front legs 90 degrees up (perpendicular to the surface). The Stomper matches the Predator's 45 degrees, and the Acceleraider has a 60 degree angle of attack.

In general, the steeper the angle of attack (AOA), the slower the robot is, but the better climbing ability it possesses.

Seeing as the Predator shares similar geometry with the Stomper, the advertised "aggressive" behaviour is what separates these two B.I.O. Bugs.


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