The Art Of Motion Control


After the first two years teaching my "eggbot" class at the Museum, I was asked if I might be able to try something less complicated, for younger kids. In pursuit of this goal, I started looking for a stepper project that used only a single motor. A combination of events (my wife returning from a trip to the Czech Republic, with a cool colored sand and water curio and finding petri dishes at my local favorite scrap shop) led to the creation of the first shimmibot. So named, because the program used to control the motor simply commands it to go back and forth an equal amount.

I have taught the shimmibot class (a single week, 15 hours) to two groups of 10-12 year olds with good results:

Of course, the interesting part of shimmibots cannot be understood without seeing them move:

2.6M video -- 1.7M video

Early experiments with scaling this phenomenon up have been very interesting:

Pizza-pan shimmibot (5.0M video)