The ArtBot is basically a plastic drinking cup with four (capped) felt tipped pens attached as legs and a battery powered motor. An off centre mass (blob of plasticine will do but you can buy off centre mass wheels) slid onto the shaft of the motor motor will cause it and the plastic cup/ felt tip pen combination to vibrate and jig around erratically. If you remove the pen caps and place the ArtBot on a piece of paper it will create a random spirograph-esque design.
If you want to extend the project a bit you could add lights and even a buzzer! Instructions for making an ArtBot The ArtBot a nice little Technology project. To turn it into a physical computing project we need to control the ArtBot with a computer programme! As the motion of the ArtBot is erratic there;'s little point in trying to control the direction of the movement so we need to think about controlling some other aspect of the ArtBot. Um...how about some the lights or the buzzer controlled via a Codebug or Crumble (Click here for our review of these controllers) )
Using a Codebug - HeArtBot For instructions on getting started with the Codebug see www.codebug.org.uk/learn The easiest way to use a Codebug in this project is to use its 5x5 bank of embedded LED's to create a flashing graphic such as a smiley face or a heart and attach the Codebug to the front of the ArtBot. (Check out the great tutorial on creating flashing graphics with the Codebug here
Or try making a paper packet to hold the Codebug. The paper will diffuse the light from the LEDs giving the flashing graphic a nice soft glow.