Archive for October 23rd, 2007

RoboPhilo at iHobby Expo 2007

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

The TR team spent last weekend at the iHobby Expo, and we were impressed by the strong robotics presence at the event.  One of the high points was getting some hands-on time with the brand new RoboPhilo, and speaking with some of the minds behind it.  RoboPhilo is another addition to the growing number of “budgetâ€? humanoids on the market.  To keep the cost down, RoboPhilo uses plastic frames instead of aluminum, and lower-cost hobby servos instead of precision digital servos.  Of course, some performance is sacrificed, but RoboPhilo makes up for it in a number of ways.  For starters, the articulation is great.  It has 20 servos, including hip and waist rotation.  The hip and waist joints are pivoted by indirect-drive systems, so less load is placed directly on the servo axes.

The software is very intuitive.  It has a graphical interface for setting servo positions and programming motion sequences, and an SDK for people who want to use some of the robot’s more advanced features.  The SDK will be necessary for accessing the 8 analog inputs and setting up sensor-driven events.  Unfortunately, since the servos are analog, there is no "pose and capture" capability for setting servo positions.  We spoke with RoboPhilo’s creators at the expo, and they said that a firmware update was in the works that would add support for digital servos.  They also said that there are many add-ons coming, such as servo upgrades and sensors.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on for updates.

We shot some video of RoboPhilo in action, and also of the software.  We’ll post the software video as soon as YouTube is finished processing it.

Edit: Here’s the software and overview footage we promised.

UPDATE: We now carry the RoboPhilo!