December 1, 2008

Trossen Robotics Robot-Building Contest


Trossen is sponsoring a robot-building contest that will run through the end of December. If you have any skills in that area, now is the time to put them to use. They will be judged on ingenuity, creativity, documentation and probably the most important, the "wow" factor. First prize is a Pleo, second place is a Robosapien RS Media and 3rd place gets a Roboquad. Let us know if you build one and we will let others know here on Robot Snob. Check with Trossen Robotics to see who some of the past winners were. Good luck!

Via Trossen

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RoboParade Celebrates the Holidays

While you may have been watching the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving, Lawrence Tech, in Southfield, Michigan was putting on their own annual event, the RoboParade. High school teams build about 50 autonomous floats that saunter down the Robofest line. Take a peak at last year's parade and note that not only does each bot stay in line but must also adjust its speed to avoid bumping into the one in front.

Via Robofest

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November 19, 2008

UC Berkeley Lets RoACH Loose


We admit it. Roaches may be one of God's creatures, but the site of them makes us cringe in horror. UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab has developed RoACH (Robotic Autonomous Crawling Hexapod) that equally creeps us out. At a size of 35 x 14 x 13 mm, the bot has a flexible polymer skeleton with 2º of movement and two sets of legs that bend forward or backwards. It can move one body length per second for about 9.5 minutes on its battery power before needing a recharge. You can build your own roachbot for about $1,000.00, but honestly, would you want to?


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November 18, 2008

i-SOBOT Major Price Reduction

While the diminutive iSOBOT by Tomy usually retails for $149.99 up to $199.99, Trossen has them on sale for only $95.99 for those who live in the U.S. That's up to 50% off, people! At a height of only 6.5" and a weight of .77 lbs., he has 17 servos to control his action. He also has a built-in gyroscopic sensor, voice-recognition, pre-programmed motions and a 200+ word/phrase speaking vocabulary. His 3 AAA NiMH batteries are included in the price.

Via Trossen

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November 12, 2008

Hexapodmeisterschaft Wins Dance Contest

We're not sure how we managed to miss this one before Halloween as it certainly creeps us out. Several students at the HTL Saalfelden engineering school came up with Hexapodmeisterschaft. He won last April's Austrian Hexapod Championship, his six legs getting down to the Mambo #5. You go, bot! While he is quite competent with all those limbs, maybe by next October we can grab ourselves a WowWee Roboquad and Mask and come up with our own G. W. Quadmeisterschaft.



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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.

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October 29, 2008

Robotcraft Robotic Rocky


The Robotcraft Boxing Fighter is a fine solution to getting rid of all those hostilities. With a twin motor gear box, it can fight while moving forward, backwards, or turning left or right. Hit his opponent enough times and he will fall down. There is also an adjustment if you want to make the match more of a challenge. The kit comes with a practice punching ball so you can get him in shape before the main event. The boxer needs two R6/AA/UM3 batteries (not included) for the remote and comes at a price of $29.00 each. Check out some of Robotcraft's other designs.

Via Robot Store

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October 10, 2008

Meccano Releases Spykee Vox and Cell


Meccano has two new Spykee kits for you to create. The Vox is controlled by your iPod and reacts to your verbal questions with movement, light, sounds, and facial expressions. He can also be used as an alarm clock with your PC via USB. Tools are included in the £139.99 (~$248.00) kit.

The Control Spykee Cell works with your cell phone via Bluetooth. He allows video streaming and pictures as well as acting himself as a camera. He also lets you know about an incoming text message with movements, light, and sound effects. The Cell is available for £159.99 (~$284.00.) Both need 6 AAA non-included batteries to operate. Pre-order for an October delivery.

Via Mail Order Express

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October 3, 2008

Must Have Robot: RobotronX Kit


Since the holidays will soon be upon us, it is time to order some of those gifts now. Our Must Have Robot this week is a fine solution for newbies who want to do it themselves. The Discovery Exclusive Build Your Own Robot Kit is a simple to assemble bot with light and sounds and about 40 pieces. It not only includes step-by-step instructions and a screwdriver, it has a mini-price of $19.95. The RobotronX comes with a tethered remote and is recommended for those who are aged 8 and up.

Via RobotronX

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October 1, 2008

NTUST Develops Creepy Bi-Pedal Bot


This odd looking bi-pedal bot showed up at the Taipei International Invention Show. Created by the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, he can walk two meters, and sing via synthesizer, not that you would want him to. Look closely at the robot's face. Does he not look similar to one of its creators on its right? Especially with that hairstyle and glasses.

Via engadget

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