Dredging Up The Ancient Past: Dave's B.I.O.-Bug Vivisection
- Mr. Hrynkiw's path-breaking "B.I.O.-Bug Vivisection" will always be in my mind.
Oddly, though, I had thought that either he or someone else had gone further: to perform an electrical/electronics review of the device. Sort of a "if I wiggle it here, where does it end up waggling there" in very crude terms. Of course, one would always have to pay attention to what you are wiggling (As Buckaroo Banzai would say "Don't yank on that! You don't know what it is connected to!" because it might be a more sensitive power OUTPUT than you'd expect. Nonetheless, at that point it might be a good idea to hook up an oscilloscope (if you had one) or at least a DVM to the line(s) and see what happens while the Bug was 'alive'. Under those circumstances, you might say "Hey, neat, the motor goes THIS way when the wire has THAT sort of polarity."
You'll notice that I presume that I might completely ignore the "CPU on the main PCB". It makes for the 'ultimate black box', so what we'd need to find out is precisely what each connection did or sensed... or even if we cared because it might have merely been test point. In that case, we could ignore it. All told, we'd replace the blob with something that is more-or-less like the Solarbotics.com "PICAXE Brainboard" or "Stamp Stack Controller II" or the "Ardweeny" if they actually are available any more) or anything that fits conveniently...
you get the signal conditions (voltages and currents) right. That might be a real bear of a problem. You'd have to do that to avoid frying things, of course.
Just yank out that ugly black wad of plastic (and as much board as you dared) and stick in anything you'd like & you have a reasonably capably walker platform that has LOADS of room inside. And, relatively speaking, potentially LOADS of 'intelligence'. Not only that, but if you were careful, you could preserve such things as the motor drivers and IR input-output circuits and not even have to worry about those whole whole systems - just get the signal right.
Just an idea that came floating through my skull. It was presumed when the B.I.O. Bugs were introduced that unbelievable hacks might occur: however, technology really wasn't small enough and as capable compared to what we've got today. Beside which, you can still buy something like "Hasbro (WowWee these days) Bio Bugs Destroyer Electronic Robot NEW in Box" for $25 on eBay (or wait for a better sale).
If nothing else, just enjoy the dream.