These robots are noteworthy for how they intereact with their environment, rather than how they locomote over sand.
A new robot called the BeBot is designed to help clean up smaller plastic waste, traveling back and forth on beach surfaces sifting through the sand’s top layer. As the BeBot travels back and forth, covering an area roughly three-fifths the size of a football field each hour, it sifts the top layer of sand through a screen, capturing anything larger than a square centimeter, from pieces of old packaging to cigarette butts.
Intended to be a call for increased awareness around pollution and the dangers of single-use plastics, BeBot seems to be a promotional tool first, and an agent of change second. Additionally, it’s meant exclusively for the beach, which would mean it’s mechanisms (triangular treads) aren’t designed to be effective over sand dunes.
1. Sand Drawing Robot
The sand drawing robot takes the form of a gantry-style system that you might be familiar with from your CNC router or 3D printer. One axis is pulled back and forth with a belt drive and motor setup. The other axis, though, is different than a traditional CNC machine, as it moves across the beach using four wheels. Instead of spindle or extruder, the sliding portion simply has a hobby servo that pokes into the ground when needed, intermittently rending the sand.
The way in which this robot deliberately creates tracks in the sand is perhaps something we might want to look into.