BEAM robotics (from Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics and Mechanics) is a style of robotics that primarily uses simple analog circuits, such as comparators, instead of a microprocessor in order to produce an unusually simple design. BEAM robotics is robust and efficient in performing the task for which it was designed. Robots that use both analog and microprocessor electronics are known as “mutants”. The main practical application of BEAM has been in the rapid prototyping of motion systems and hobby/education applications.
BEAM robotics may use a set of the analog circuits, mimicking biological neurons, to facilitate the robot’s response to its working environment. BEAM robotics attempts to copy the characteristics and behaviors of biological organisms, with the ultimate goal of domesticating these “wild” robots. The aesthetics of BEAM robots derive from the principle “form follows function” modulated by the particular design choices the builder makes while implementing the desired functionality.
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