The Amphibious Solar Vehicle by OWI Inc – Brief Article

The Amphibious Solar Vehicle by OWI Inc – Brief Article – Evaluation

Fenella Saunders

The Amphibious Solar Vehicle by OWI Inc. www.owirobot,com, $40.

SOME PEOPLE THINK THERE’S NO satisfaction in a device that emerges from the box fully assembled. Robots are a perfect toy for them. After all, how can one pretend to be an evil scientist without actually building the engines of world destruction? The SilverBot is a simple step on the road to roboticist. Detailed graphics show how to snap together the bot, which strides forward on spindly legs, its head scanning the room and its arms waving.

For those with naval ambitions, the Amphibious Solar Vehicle offers a slightly more advanced entry point. The body is made of Styrofoam, but there are quite a few pieces to add. Powered by solar panels, it will trundle across bathtubs or pools. Despite its amphibious claims, it doesn’t work as well on land–there’s no front wheel, so carpets can trip it up.

That’s not a problem for Space Wings, an unusual kit that looks deceptively simple. Its pair of Mylar butterfly wings flaps periodically although not so vigorously that the whole gadget actually takes off. The wings’ motion isn’t created by a motor but by a wire made of a shape-memory alloy, which contracts when an electric current passes through it. The kit, while small, is involved, and the circuit board requires assembly Although useless for taking over the world, this earthbound flying machine will set the imagination soaring.

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