BEAM is a design philosophy that emphasizes minimalist
and robust solutions to building robots. As BEAM founder Mark Tilden has
often shown it doesn't take much of a brain to make a capable robot.
The most common BEAM acronym stands for:
Biology- Why re-invent the wheel when nature has already done
so? The idea here is to use nature as a guide to building robots after
all, nature does have the advantage of a
few million years beta testing.
Using biology for inspiration and guidance is no new idea, its been around
since the 40's and probably long before that. (see Tortoise by Gray
Electronics- These are the guts of what run a robot.
The difference here is that most BEAM robots do not use a
programmed microcontroller, not that this excludes the use of one by any
means. For some applications simple discreet components, logic gates and
amplifiers can do the job quicker and easier than a microcontroller and do
a surprisingly good job as well.
Aesthetics- Form follows function, there is a reason falcons are shaped
the way they are, there is a reason pigs don't fly. Although not always the case
the general rule is that the better constructed the robot the better it
will perform. The
aesthetics can also be seen as the artistic side to building robots. If your
going to do it it may as well look good.
Mechanics- No matter how good the control electronics are they can not
make up for bad hardware, as it's exceedingly difficult to walk on broken
legs. This is key in determining the lifetime and performance of your
robot. Don't underestimate the value of good mechanisms.