Monday, December 31, 2007


I picked up a Wowwee Robosapien at Wal-Mart last night. When they first came out, they sold for about $100 - I got it for $35. It is cute enough for kids, but sophisticated enough for adults.

Robosapien is the first robot based on the science of applied biomorphic robotics. Robosapien is designed by Mark Tilden. Tilden is a robotics physicist who has worked for NASA, DARPA and JPL through Los Alamos National Laboratory. He developed the basics for biomorphic robotics in 1988; Robosapien is the first commercially available robot based upon this principle. Tilden is best know for his BEAM robotics.

Robosapien is ready to go right out of the box (just install batteries). Robosapien can be operated or programmed via remote control. It has a set of pre-programmed functions or you can program your own sequence of functions.Robosapien is packed with many features (especially at the price). They include:

Fluid motions and gestures: fast dynamic 2-speed walking and turning; full-function arms with two types of grippers.

67 pre-programmed functions: pick-up, throw, kick, dance, kung-fu, fart, belch, rap and more; 3 demonstration modes.

Fully programmable by remote control: Up to 84 program steps with 4 program modes for advanced operations; programmable “reflexes” to sound and touch stimuli.

Fluent international “caveman” speech.

Extended battery life.

One of the best parts is that there are many hacker sites available for the Robosapien. Check out these two - and Hack a Robosapien Instructions.

Note - Much of the info in this post is from the Robosapien site linked above.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Robot Design - TRobot

My son just presented me with a new robot design. It is hard to tell from the drawning exactly what the internal workings are, but it does make noise. It is saying, "Tweep, beep, beep!" Looks pretty cool to me.

To hear the "Tweep, beep, beep!" sound, click below.
Gabcast! - Tweep, beep, beep!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Microbug - More Soldering Practice

One of the reasons I got some of these little kits for Christmas was to work more on soldering and construction neatness. Today, I assembled this Velleman Running Microbug (MK127), purchased from Electronix Express. I did this with three kids and the new puppy all playing around me - something I could not imagine doing a year ago.

I don't know why it amazes me, but, it worked the first time. The Microbug chases light with its two open chassis motors. Light sensitivity can be adjusted with the two pots on front and the LED "eyes" indicate driving direction. It runs on two 1.5V AAA batteries, can be switched on and off and stops moving in total darkness. The assembly instructions and a schematic are here. This little kit is only $12.75.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

Apparently, I was good boy this year. I got lots of goodies from my wife and kids, even though the kids didn't know what most of it was. Everytime I opened a box, my kids would say, "What in the world is that?" to which I replied, of course,"It's cool robot stuff." Oh," they would say. Herbie the Mousebot is pictured above right. Here's the list with the links:

From Parallax:

BOE-Boost - had to try it out. It is basically a fifth battery holder for the BOE-bot that lets you run rechargable batteries (takes 5 rechargables [1.2V X 5 = 6V] to equal 4 [1.5V X 4V = 6V]alkaline batteries). I already have a 5 cell holder which I got here.

ServoPAL -can't wait to play with this. This maintains a PWM signal to servos, so the Basic Stamp Microcontroller can do other tasks.

SoundPAL and PIEZO speaker - for fun! This is small sound module that can play canned and programed sounds.

Educational CD - Basic Stamps in Action - to show kids for classes or Robot camp (and for me too!)

Plus, thanks to Parallax's agreement with Radio Shack, my wife also surprised me with another Ping))) Ultra-sonic Sensor and a PIR Sensor Module. These items are available in the part asile at Radio Shack anytime locally!

From Solarbotics:

Make Volume 06 Solar Roller Bundle - this was a BEAM Roller featured in Make Magazine.

Herbie the Mousebot Kit (in red) - a little mouse-bot and light chaser (shown above).

L298 Compact Motor Driver Kit - I may use this motor driver on Robot 1 (my first robot).

I also got some misc parts (capacitors, 1381 voltage triggers).

From Electronix Express:

Microbug Kit - this kit is made by Velleman and is a light chaser too.

A few tools like this Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner (and a replacement pad), 7" Curved and 7" Straight clamps and Lead Bend Gauges (one for 1/2 and 1/4 watt and one for 1 and 2 watt size).

My wife also found this Solar Panel at our local Academy Sports. Mine is a 6 volt model (the link is to a 12 volt model).

No coal this year! Needless to say, I'll be busy...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone has a very merry Christmas! Hope you find something fun to play with, put together, program, or explore your world with under the tree. (I hope I do too!). If I do, you can count on a full report here - with pictures and links.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!

By the way, this image is avaliable as a card here at Retro Junction.