What in the World Is This Robot Doing at the Beach?

Meet Beachbot, the remotely controlled Roomba-sized robot created by Disney’s “Imagineers” at Disney Research. They worked in partnership with a student team at ETH Zürich on this project.

Beachbot looks like an orange turtle, and can be remotely controlled with any pre-loaded design or image to draw almost anything on the sand.

Four white poles are placed in the sand to mark the size of the “canvas.” Beachbot can sense these poles to keep track of its position so that it can autonomously draw its designs on the sand.

The robot moves on special balloon wheels that don’t leave a track on the sand. Beachbot then uses a movable rake with movable pins that can be moved up and down to draw thick or thin lines on the sand.

Beachbot can be pre-programmed to draw lines or filled-in areas. In remote manual mode, it becomes a robotic Etch A Sketch, using the sand like a sketchpad.

Watch how this innovative robot draws in the sand.

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