It took a few tries when the research team first set out to build a rover to record environment data. The first rover was delicate and ineffective. The team decided they needed something that could withstand constant abuse. So the second attempt was a sturdy, remote-controlled toy snowmobile kit already primed for snow and designed for a child’s rugged use. Howard’s group installed a camera and all computing and sensors inside the 2-ft-long, 1-ftwide snowmobile. The result was a tough but inexpensive rover.
It’s funny how a handful of toy snowmobiles ease the daily grind of creating Snow Goer magazine. While most adults would just stash these cheap, plastic toys on a shelf and forget about them, we look to them as a source of inspiration.