July 15, 2009

ROBOT Keeps Rolling


Nils Voelker took his Lego Mindstorms NXT and tossed it into a hamster ball and came up with a "Rolling-Orbital-Bluetooth-Operated-Thing (ROBOT.) It moves in any direction when rotating the internal mass and is remote controlled via Bluetooth. Nils hopes to make it autonomous in the future, making his part in its operation practically nil.

Via Nils Voelker

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March 27, 2009

Must Have: Special Edition Black Lego Mindstorms NXT

Never doubt the talents of someone who can combine a Mindstorms NXT, a Bionicle, a Technic set and a few Lego bricks added into the mix. Should it show up in our neighborhood, we will be on the first train out.

Speaking of Mindstorms, Lego is celebrating their 10th anniversary of the micro-controllers with a Special Edition in black. If you get in on the action, you will have access to other materials such as a special program for the NXT, a personal certificate of ownership, wallpapers and building instructions for special models. This certainly qualifies it as our Must Have this week.

Via Bionicle Robot Head

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February 2, 2009

At Last! Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0


After 3 years, Lego has announced that it will finally update its Lego Mindstorms. NXT 2.0 is aimed at 10 - 14 year old boys, but we know better. New to the kit is a sensor that the robot uses to determine colors before acting on the information.


With 619 pieces, builders can make Alpha Rex (robot,) Robocator (crocodile,) Shooter bot (pictured) and Color Sorter. This time around there will be 10 sets of instructions included in the software. Although NXT 2.0 will cost nearly $300.00 when it comes out later this year, don't be surprised if there is a price reduction in the current kit.

Via Pocket-lint at Lego Mindstorms

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December 23, 2008

WiigoBot Gets a Perfect Score

Take a Lego Mindstorms NXT, a Wii Controller, and a little ingenuity and the result might be the WiigoBot. The robot was programmed to bowl and, not surprisingly, had a perfect game. We expect that when the novelty wears off, Will Gorman will teach him to perform a grand slam or a perfect hole in one.

Via BattleBricks

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November 1, 2008

Robot Snob 2008 Holiday Gift Guide


Robotics can get to be quite expensive, as those of us at Robot Snob know. But with the economy being the way it is, we have scanned the Net to find the best bots for fewer bucks. We have included categories by the budget as well as kids' stuff, those for adults, and some for DIY fans. Happy shopping with our First Annual Gift Guide!

Under $50.00

Grandport has several kits for those who are just getting started in robotics. With brightly colored pieces and plastic pieces that snap together, choose from Tarmo, Sumobot, and TouchMe. Solarbotic's Herbie the Mouse needs some soldering, but will keep anyone amused by his battery-powered antics. Discovery's Kids Electronic Gadget Lab can make over 100 projects with 30 snap pieces.

Under $25.00

There are many robots that may do a little less, but can amuse adults and children alike for under $25.00. Most of them have been out for awhile, and as we all know, the longer an electronic is out, the more outdated it is, and the price drops. But kids and those who are not yet robotically inclined will love one of these.

The WowWee Robotics Roboquad is one of these. Originally about $90.00, you can now get one for $23.97. WowWee also has other bots for little funds, such as their Mini Robosapien V2, the Mini Robopanda and the blue R/C FlyTech Dragonfly. We have shown you this one before, but the Discovery Build Your Own Robot Kit is a great kit for amateurs.

Under $10.00

There are plenty of windup stocking stuffers and miniature bots for those on a super-budget. Our selections include Schylling's Classic Windup Robot, the Galactic Robot Windup, SparkDino, Boogie Bots, the Mazinger Z Wind-up Tin Toy and the Mini Robot Tin.

Over $100.00

If money is no object, at the top of the list has to be our fave Sesame Street character, Elmo Live. Although they will be in short supply, we think it is worth the effort to find one, although you may end up paying more than the current list price of around $60.00. We also suggest a Pleo, who becomes more affordable all the time, and have new applications every time we turn around.

For pets, althought the Litter Robot LRII Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box seems a tad expensive, think what a great gift this would be for yourself! And we cannot leave out our favorite module Lego Mindstorms NXT, the do-it-yourself kit that is so popular that it has its own site.

Robot Vacuums

Of course, iRobot has the perfect gifts for those who hate household chores. Now there are several Roombas available. The original Roomba cleans both carpet and bare floors and starts at a mini-price of $129.99. The Scooba will clean the scummiest of bathroom and kitchen floors. It preps, washes, scrubs and squeegees on wood, linoleum, and other surfaces. The Dirt Dog cleans up sawdust, small nails, nuts and bolts, and is the perfect gift for wives that want to hint around to their mates. The Verro is perfect for those who can't afford poolboys, while the Looj is a good way to erase something off the honey-do list. Don't forget the ConnectR that allows you to see and chat with family and friends. There are limited supplies of the ConnectR, but you can get on their mailing list for future availability.

DIY Kits

If you have someone in your life who prefers the DIY route, try one of these suggestions. Trossen has a wide variety of them that include their humanoid kits come in all price ranges. They also have kits for beginners that are not only fun, but will get your child on the early road to robotics.

Movie Robots

Let's not forget those Movie bots. Although we covet the can-do-it-all U Command Wall-E any fan of the film and iPods would settle for the i-Dance WALL-E for less than $20.00. Transformer fans will surely love the Deluxe Payload Armored Truck. Movies are always welcome for the holidays and a really fine way to keep your kids occupied when you are exhausted from all the festivities. We recommend Robots or I, Robot for teens. Finally, if you have never seen the movie Short Circuit (from 1986), this is a fun family fare for the holidays.

Plush Robots

For younger kids, try one of Hasbro's FurReal Friends. Their collection includes Squawkers McCaw Parrot to the more affordable Newborn Chimp, Kitten, Dalmation Puppy and Honey Bear, all of which are under $20.00. Buy more than one at a time and they are even less expensive.

Robot Gifts for Toddlers and Babies

Finally, let's not forget the little ones. If you know someone who recently added a newcomer to the family, how about a Robots : People of the Future or this Robots Love Dancing Onesie? There is even a plush Disney Meet the Robinsons 10" Carl the Robot Doll.

Still haven't found what you want? Keep checking in the weeks ahead with us and we will be relentless in our search to make this holiday affordable for all our botty friends. Let us know in our comment section if you find something that will make others gleeful this season.

Sheila Franklin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 24, 2008

Mindstorms NXT Talking Robotic Scull

Once an NXT fan, always an NXT fan. Although he hadn't done so in 20 years, "thinkingbricks" took a few Lego Mindstorms NXT sets and built a programmable talking robot. He demonstrates the results as well as kindly offering the DIY instructions. The clever man claims that it has been "hastily documented" so that he could tear it apart and build another one. Take a look at some of his other designs on his website.

Via thinkingbricks

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September 18, 2008

Jeppe - Blobby Videoconferencing Buddy

The NRC (Nokia Research Center) has designed Jeppe. He seems pretty much a standard bot to us (and his base is a Lego Mindstorms NXT!) He can patrol or act as surveillance in your home or workplace. The prototype consists of a digital compass and ultra sound sensors, video cam, and can make gesture controlled movements. Jeppe's two-way audio makes for "active videoconference" but, the way we see it, he is just your basic blob. Back to the drawing board, Nokia, until you can get him to roll over, vacuum, or find our missing keys.


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September 11, 2008

Sundial Robot Tells the Time, Kinda


Genius certainly runs in this family. Jim Kelly created a Sundial Robot after being inspired by his son. It was made out of a Lego Mindstorms NXT, 3 motors, and compass, light, and touch sensors, and about 270 other parts. The bot rotates 360º in 5º increments. Without going into details that even we don't understand, suffice it to say that it is accurate within 15 minutes.

Via The NXT Step

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September 3, 2008

Slide Rule Wall Alarm Clock

Greg Blonder has created a Slide Rule Alarm Clock. The man is an inventor, physicist, designer, and former Bell Labs scientist, so it is easy to see why this timepiece is as much art as it is a functioning device. He created it with Lego Mindstorms NXT and a foam core. Hours and minutes are on each of the rulers and they meet at a central slider. We want one!

Via The Watchismo Times

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August 21, 2008

Lego Mindstorms NXT Pin Plotter III


Lego Mindstorms NXT continues to inspire creativity, as in the form of Alphonso Martone's Pin-Plotter. Finalized after 2 tries, the third is made of one NXT brick, 3 motors, 3 touch-sensors, and lots of Technic bricks. It creates a printable area of 3.6 x 2.7" with a bitmap of 1,500 holes in about 40 minutes. Using a 0.3mm needle, it has a maximum resolution of 1.3 holes/mm (33 dpi.) The gadget runs on 6 1.2 V NiMH AA NXT batteries. We dig that a driver was included in the clever device.

Via NXT Pin-Plotter III

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