The benefit in using a separat motor for each leg is the ability to grasp non-symetrical things, such as real trees. In addition it could provide a steering option if needed. The desire to remove cost and value from a product, at the expense of removing valuable functionality, is one way to assure that the product is less useable. Before removing parts to reduce cost, it is important to understand the value of the functionality that those "extra" parts provide. It is always possible to reduce the cost of a product by removing useful functionality, and by reducing the quality and quantity of materials. Unfortunately however, that product will have a shorter life and be less useful than one that may have cost a small bit more.
If this sounds like an angry rant against producing things with bare-minimum functionality and a short lifetime, that is because it is just that.
A tree climbing robot is indeed an awsome invention, and the mnethod selected seems to be quite robust indeed.
MY question now is what is the intended purpose or use of this robot?
This reminds me of a robotic kit that my father brought home one day from his work. Being a Mechanical Engineer, he had hoped to have the bug bite me so that I would follow his path. Not quite, I am an RF guy :) . However, this was back when I was 12. The kit was simple and easy to put together following instructions, even though I had no real idea of mechanical forces.
For someone in High School and no "formal training", this article serves as a reminder that there are a lot of creative and intelligent minds out there that understand things without spending the four to eight years of academic training and can figure things out.
And you are right Beth, even with a parent-kid collaboration, creating something like this from scratch without instructions is *not* an easy task.
Time after time you see these designs created by students, whether it be through contests or on their own time, and time after time, their ingenuity amazes me. How complex is this robot to build, though? Seems like the average kid and parent combo might have a hard time pulling this off.
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