I have been thinking quite a lot about clockwork mice recently. I
think it may be possible to make a (wall following) mouse without any
electrical or electronic bits. I made a first bash at it using an electric
motor and battery instead of clockwork and the results are fairly encouraging.
Basically, it is a mouse with a steered wheel at the front. This
wheel has an elastic band pulling it to turn left and a "wheel" that runs
along the wall to push the steering right. Along the straights it follows
the wall when the force on the "wheel" balances the elastic band. For left
handers the "wheel" comes off the wall and it steers hard left. For right
handers the "wheel is pushed hard to the right to make it steer round.
My first attempt has 2 possible sizes of "wheels". One works
beatifully on left handers but gets caught in dead-ends. The other solves
dead-ends beautifully but can't quite make it round left handers!
Development continues and I think the problem can be solved by scaling the
mouse down to about half-size.
The questions are:-
Does anyone have a source for small clockwork motors?
Does any mechanical engineering department want to take up the
challenge to see if they can make a faster "dumb" mouse than mine?