Archive for July, 2008

They’re Heeeeeeere! RoboBuilder has Arrived!

Monday, July 28th, 2008

robobuilder is here

The RoboBuilder kits have arrived !!

You can find them in the catalog in the Humanoids section or the Full Robotics Systems section.

RoboBuilder is the new building block robot kit on the scene. Designed for robot enthusiasts and education alike RoboBuilder hits a sweet spot with feature packed kits at great prices. Its designers focused on form as much as function and the result is a great looking robot. The 5720T kit even sports translucent plastic with multicolored internal LEDs. You could take this little guy to the rave with you on the weekends!

Don’t let the streamlined good looks of RoboBuilder fool you. Beneath all that flash lurks plenty of substance. RoboBuilder is packed with advanced features not found on many of the other kits in the market such as: Precise PID Motion Control, distance detection, sound detection & speaker system, IR remote control included, Bluetooth upgradeable, and full-duplex drop-down UART serial communication on the smart actuators.

A common complaint in robotics is that too much time is often spent building robots and not enough is spent enjoying them. RoboBuilder solves this problem with their unique quick assembly joints which make assembly and design changes a breeze. Building is so easy that a complete humanoid takes less than two hours to assemble.

Once the robot is built there are multiple easy to use software interfaces to play with- WCK Programmer, Motion Builder, Action Builder, & Diagnostics Interface. RoboBuilder is ready to move as soon as it is assembled and using the software you can program your own humanoid motions in just 10 minutes. Another exciting feature is the ability to trade motion files on the internet uploading your own and downloading others. RoboBuilder is not only powerful, it’s affordable. You can choose from four kits priced at: $420, $680, $860, and $1,560.

The RoboBuilder kits are manufactured by RoboBuilder, LTD a Korean company: RoboBuilder is distributed by Trossen Robotics, LLC. More information about RoboBuilder can be found on the website:, 877-898-1005. Interested resellers are invited to contact them for more information.

Download the Press Release here.

Download the RoboBuilder Brochure here.

Interested resellers may call or email us for further information.

Pet’s love robots too !

Monday, July 21st, 2008

As robot geeks we are constantly plagued at parties, bars, and family get togethers with the question, “But what do the robots do?” Shamefully we have to look at the floor and mumble, “Nothing.” Because the truth is, most robots don’t do much at all except entertain.

Well, some brilliant minded roboticists are learning how to put those robots to work entertaining their pets! Rbotguy from the Trossen Robotics Community posted a video of his awesome cat lasers.

Post Link

Some of you may also remember this great
video of Jerry dog and his robot ball launcher.

If you don’t have a pet to chase robot lasers or balls,
then just build a robot that actually does the fetching.

via SuicideBots

CrabFu Does it Again: The RC Flapper Fish!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

CrabFu delighted robot & RC geeks with his Swashbots and Tortoise creations over the past few month and now he’s got a new animal for his little robot zoo: The Flapper Fish!

CrabFu Flapper Fish

More pics here.

CrabFu discusses his latest creation in the community forums:

Summer Robot Sale!

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Our robots are dying of hot summer heat on our stuffy shelves! We need to get them to your air conditioned houses! Save a robot! Give one a home!

To encourage your adoption we are having a summer sale while supplies last. Let a robot into your heart and be a happier person.




i-Sobot by Tomy
Regular: $199.99
Sale Price $159.99
***SOLD OUT***


Kondo KHR-2HV
Regular: $939.00
Sale Price $798.15
***SOLD OUT***

Kondo KHR-2HV Starter Kit
Regular: $1,478.99
Sale Price $1,257.00
***SOLD OUT***

Kondo KHR-1HV
Regular: $1,249.99
Sale Price $1,062.49
***SOLD OUT***

Futaba RBT-1
Regular: $1,379.99
Sale Price $1,173.00 
***SOLD OUT***

Regular: $199.99
Sale Price $179.99

Selected Pololu Controllers
Don’t forget that our garage sale section
also has ongoing deals for many items that are still in the box. Close
out, clearance, and discontinued items are in there all the time.

Want to get paid to play with robots?

Friday, July 11th, 2008

We are hiring !

Are you into robotics or similar technology? Do you have servos lying on your kitchen table? Does your office look more like an electronics lab? How about getting paid to play with robots? We have two open positions for enthusiastic individuals.

(Click job title for full description)

Technical Writer / Online Content Manager

Intern – Office Clerk / Warehouse

As we continue to grow we are always keeping our eyes open for good talent. Even if you don’t fit for one of the above positions you can send your resume in for future consideration. Some of the areas include: Ecommerce systems management & development, web design, marketing, Technical Support, Sales, and general operations.

Interested applicants can send their resumes & cover letter to Matt:

Fancy New Parallax Drive Module Kit

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Parallax Motor Mount and Wheel Kit with Position Controller

Click thumbnails to see high-res versions.

Anybody can slap together some motors and wheels, bolt a mounting block on there, and call it a drive module.  However, it takes a company like Parallax to do it properly.  These things are beautiful, really.  They’re not meant for junkbotters who want to build everything on the cheap.  You’re looking at the Mercedes Benz of drive modules.  The drive modules incorporate motors, pneumatic tires, custom-machined hardware, and a smart encoder board.  The encoder on its own is pretty ingenious.  It can be used to track the motion of the wheels, reporting speed and position back to the robot’s brain; AND it can be used as a bridge between your robot’s brain and your motor controller, actively controlling the power going to the motors to ensure that they’re doing precisely what you commanded them to do.  Cool stuff.


For more details, specs, manuals, etc; head on over to our Parallax Motor Mount and Wheel Kit with Position Controller product page.

Wall-E Mania continues: Terry Gross interviews Andrew Stanton

Thursday, July 10th, 2008


WALL•E Writer/Director Andrew Stanton is being interviewed right now on NPR. Very interesting stuff. If you can’t tune in right now, you’ll be able to listen to it in digital streaming form later this afternoon:

[Edit] Unfortunately, it sounds like Terry hasn’t actually seen the movie. Oh well, Andrew Stanton is an interesting dude nonetheless.

Mindstorms NXT needs an upgrade? You need Mindsensors.

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

The Lego Mindstorms platform is pretty awesome.  They have a tried-and-true construction system, top-notch software, a very good controller brick, and modular sensors and actuators.  Only problem is, what if you want more?  Well, we’ve got you covered.

We just received a big shipment of Mindsensors, a 3rd party line of Mindstorms-compatible sensors and accessories.  They aren’t as pretty as the official parts (no plastic pod, some exposed components), but for those of us who are toilet trained and can avoid covering everything we touch with snot and cookie crumbs, that’s just fine.  Mindsensors are cool because they offer a greater variety of features, and are less expensive than official Lego parts.  Let’s quit squawking and check out the selection:

Vision Subsystem v2 for NXT – This vision subsystem connects to NXT on a standard sensor port, and tracks upto 8 colored objects. It reports coordinates of each object to NXT. Can also be connected to a PC on USB port.
Magnetic compass for NXT (CMPS-Nx)
This magnetic compass measures the earth’s magnetic field and reports heading angle clockwise from magnetic north. It uses orthogonal two-axis magnetic sensor from Honeywell (HMC1052) and provides digital communication with NXT.
* Supported in NXT-G, NXC/NBC, LeJOS and RobotC
* Higher resolution supported in NXC/NBC and RobotC
Motor Multiplexer for NXT (MTRMX-Nx)
Specially designed for NXT, medium power motor driver to support upto 4 LEGO motors. (Designed as: Quad 35Volt 0.6Amp H Bridge motor drive).
* Supported in NXT-G, NXC/NBC, RobotC
RCX to NXT Communication Adapter (NRLink-Nx)
NRLink-Nx is a perfect solution for those who have RCX or LEGO trains or PF motors and need to control them using NXT.
* Control RCX with NXT
* Control LEGO trains with NXT
* Control PF motors (Technic Bulldozer) with NXT
* Communication using Infrared
* Bi-directional communication between RCX and NXT
Multi-Sensitivity Acceleration Sensor for NXT – (ACCL-Nx-v2)
This 3 axis accelerometer has multiple sensitivity levels of gravity. Use as a Tilt sensor, or measuring velocity or accelerations.
* Digital Sensor with I2C interface
* 3 Axis reading.
* Sensitivities: 2.5G 3.3G, 6.7G, 10.0G
* Supported in NXT-G, NXC/NBC, RobotC
* Use for measuring static and dynamic accelerations
Pneumatic Pressure Sensor for NXT (PPS35-Nx)
This sensor will be useful for those who use LEGO pneumatics with NXT.
* Range from 0 to 35 PSI or 0 to 240 kg/sqcm.
* Supported in NXT-G, RobotC and NXC/NBC.
Sony PlayStation 2 Controller interface for NXT (PSP-Nx)
PSP-Nx let’s you connect a Sony PlayStation 2 Controller (or any Playstation 2 compatible controller) to NXT and send joystick commands and button presses to NXT.
PSP-Nx Combo with Wireless Controller – includes a PSP-Nx along with a 2.4GHZ RF Wireless Controller.
Dual Infra Red Obstacle Detector for NXT (DROD-Nx)
Use this sensor to detect obstacles in the way.
* Detect obstacles in front-left, front-right or straight ahead
* Analog Sensor interface
* Supported in NXT-G, NXC/NBC, RobotC
High Precision Long Range Infrared distance sensor for NXT (DIST-Nx-Long)
* Uses Digital Interface
* High resolution readings in millimeters
* Range: 20cm to 150cm
High Precision Medium Range Infrared distance sensor for NXT (DIST-Nx-Medium)
* Uses Digital Interface
* High resolution readings in millimeters
* Range: 10cm to 80cm
High Precision Short Range Infrared distance sensor for NXT (DIST-Nx-Short)
* Uses Digital Interface
* High resolution readings in millimeters
* Range: 4cm to 30cm
Port Splitter for NXT
This port splitter allows you to split a port into 3, and connect upto 3 devices. It can be used for a sensor as well as motor port.
Flexi-Cables for NXT (FLEX-Nx)
* Ribbon like thin and flexible
* Comes with NXT Compatible Phone jack connectors
* Pack of 4 most usable sizes:
* 1 cable: 20 cm (8 inches), 2 cables: 35 cm (14 inches), 1 cable: 50 cm (20 inches)

Check out the our main Mindsensors category regularly, because we’re always adding cool new stuff.

Hacking the WowWee RoboRemote

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Our friends over at RoboCommunity just put together a nice tutorial on how to hack the WowWee RoboRemote:

WowWee RoboRemote

A quick intro to the RoboRemote, courtesy of RoboCommunity:

The RoboRemote was announced by WowWee at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It is advertised as a programmable remote that can be used to control all current, and future, WowWee robots. The advertised list price is $19. The RoboRemote is now available at the WowWee Store.

RoboRemote Technical Specifications

* 4 customizable buttons with 3 shift levels
* USB connection
* Infrared signal range of up to 6 1/2 feet (2 meters)
* 3 “AAA” cell batteries (not included)

The RoboRemote controls the robots using an infrared (IR) transmitter. Pressing a button on the remote causes a programmable sequence of commands to be sent to the robot. The commands are programmed into each button on the remote using an included computer software application and a USB cable. When a RoboRemote button is pressed, all of the IR commands associated with the button stream from the remote’s infrared transmitter. It works as if a user was pressing the individual command buttons on the robot’s original remote.

While this remote will be very handy for users to control multiple robots with a single remote, there is another potential use for the RoboRemote. Hidden inside the RoboRemote is the heart of what is needed to construct an opto-isolated control and sensor interface with programmable control behaviors.

Surveyor SRV-1 gets facelift, more motors

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
Surveyor SRV-1
Surveyor SRV-1: The Front!

Here’s a picture of the new Surveyor SRV-1 chassis, which is replacing the last version.  As you can see, the electronics are the same, but everything is recessed into the body now, which looks pretty slick.  The front plate that the laser pointers mount into also comes up to cover up the camera’s PCB.

The biggest differences are far from cosmetic, though.  The tracks are now driven by four motors instead of two.  Those of you with extra deep-pile 1970’s-era shag carpeting (we know you’re out there) don’t have to worry any more.  Surveyor Corp heard your call and answered it.  Backing up this quadruple-whammy of a drive system is a 7.2 V, 2000 mAh Lithium Polymer battery pack.  The new battery pack (a welcome upgrade from the older model’s bulky Li-Ion cells) boasts a runtime of 4 hours!

Surveyor SRV-1
Surveyor SRV-1: The Back!

GUESS WHAT. We sell these things, too.  If you’re planning a project that will require a number of small autonomous or wirelessly-controlled rovers, you don’t need to spend precious development time designing the bots!  The SRV-1 is a great out-of-the-box platform for swarm or solo applications; or any time you find yourself in need of a camera-equipped, Wi-Fi-enabled, internet-controllable, compact track-bot with a powerful main processor an killer battery life!

For development journals and all of the latest software updates, check out the Surveyor web site.
To see more detailed specs, or to purchase the robot, go to our Surveyor SRV-1 product page.