Robosapien Robot Review

 

What fascinates we humans so much about robots? From the menacing Gort in the
movie The Day the Earth
Stood Still
, to the lovable Rosie the robot maid in the Jetson’s, robots
continue to amuse and capture our imagination. Is it that we want to use them as
beasts of burden, or as friendly companions? Whatever the reason, I’ve
personally  always
had an interest in robots and robot toys. I never had one as a child (unless you
count the one I made from my Dad’s old
Erector
set…), so when
Scott from ThinkGeek.com asked if I would
like to review Robosapien, it
didn’t take me long to say heck yeah!

A week or so later, I arrived home after work to see that the UPS person had
dropped a big box off on my doorstep. Inside was the Robosapien package.


Photo courtesy of Thinkgeek.com

 

Included In The Packaging:

The Robosapien robot
User’s manual
Handheld infrared remote control
Black plastic cup

My first thought upon seeing this robot was that it reminded me of a Star Wars
Storm Trooper. Only on steroids and really little. ;o)  The Robosapien is
made of similar looking shiny white plastic with black accents.

Even though his height is only about 14 inches tall, Robosapien is a hefty
little robot. He weighs in at approximately 4.5 pounds with batteries installed.
Speaking of batteries, I was quite disappointed when I realized that none were
included with the robot. He requires 4 D sized cells and 3 AAA sized cells for
the remote. I actually had to wait an extra day and shell out approximately $12
before I could even see this product in action.


Once the batteries were in hand, I was ready to play. The two D sized cells
install in a cavity located in the bottom of each of the robot’s feet. A small
sized Philips screwdriver is required to remove the battery covers. The 3 AAA
batteries install into the handheld remote.

Pressing the power button on the back shoulder of the robot wakes him up. His
first actions are to stretch his arms, swivel his hips and make a little
uh-huh
sound. Too cute! If you ignore him for 2 minutes or so, he’ll go into
a sleep mode. After 2hrs, he’ll shut off automatically. You should get about
6hrs of continuous play from one set of batteries.

Not one to read directions before proceeding, I picked up the remote and
began pressing buttons. Like a keyboard, each button on the remote has multiple
functions. Three to be exact. Each button performs a function after just
pressing the button. Pressing the Select button once and the same button causes
a different action to execute, and pressing the select button twice with the
same button enables a third function. The buttons and functions are labeled and
color coded to enable ease of use. 


Photo courtesy of Thinkgeek.com

The top grouping of buttons controls the arm movements, while the middle
section of buttons control foot movements. The lower section of buttons controls the
programmable features.

The IR receiver is built into the top of Robosapien’s head. Two red LED eyes
blink at you whenever he executes a command. The head even moves as he walks or
swings his arms. A visor can slide down over the ‘face’ of the robot to help
when lighting may be too bright (outside in the sun) for the IR remote to work.


Robosapien has several sensors including one on each heal and toe and one on
the longest finger of each hand. Pressing the sensors can wake up the robot when
it is sleeping, or cause it to stop and say ouch when it runs into
something. There’s also a sonic sensor on the front which senses sounds while in
listen mode. More about that in a minute. It’s too bad that Robosapien can’t
‘see’ things, recognize objects or words like the
Sony AIBO can.


Each arm has a different shaped ‘hand’ attached to the end of it. One hand has flat style fingers while the
other one resembles a claw. An LED is located in the palm of each hand. It
doesn’t really do anything other than look cool. The different hand shapes
facilitate the ability to pick up different types of objects. A
small black plastic cup is included. Check out the video clip that I made of Robosapien picking up and throwing the cup.



Click image to see .wmv movie (700k)

Robosapien has 67 functions that are available through the handheld remote
control. These functions include both movements and sounds:

1) Right Arm Up
2) Right Arm Down
3) Right Arm In ( LFT) Left Spin/Walk Button
4) Right Arm Out (FWD) Forward Walk/Slow
5) Tilt Body Right (BK) Backward Walk/Slow
6) Left Arm Up (RSD) Right Shoulder Down
7) Left Arm Down (LSD) Left Shoulder Down
8) Left Arm In (RSU) Right Shoulder Up
9) Left Arm Out (LSU) Left Shoulder Up
10) Tilt Body Right (RFO) Right Forearm Out
11) Turn Right
12) Walk Forward
13) STOP Button
14) Turn Left
15) Walk Backward
16) (R>) Right Sensor Program
17) (S>) Sonic Program
18) (L>) Left Sensor Program
19) (R>) Right Sensor Program
20) (P) Master Command Program
21) (SELECT) Advance to GREEN Keys
22) Right Hand Thump
23) Left Hand Pickup
24) Lean Backward
25) Right Hand Throw
26) Sleep
27) Left Hand Thump
28) Left Hand Pickup
29) Lean Forward
30) Left Hand Throw
31) Listen
32) Forward Step
33) Right Turn Step
34) Backward Step
35) Right Sensor Program Execute
36) Master Command Program Execute
37) Wake Up
38) Reset
39) Left Turn Step
40) (SELECT) Advance to ORANGE Keys
41) Left Sensor Program Execute
42) Sonic Sensor Program Execute
43) Right Hand Sweep
44) High 5
45) Right Hand Strike 1
46) Burp
47) Right Hand Strike 2
48) Left Hand Sweep
49) Talk Back
50) Left Hand Strike 1
51) Whistle
52) Left Hand Strike 2
53) Bulldozer
54) Right Hand Strike 3
55) Oops!
56) Demo1
57) All Demo
58) Power Off
59) Roar
60) Left Hand Strike 3
61) (Select) Return to RED Command Functions
62) Demo2
63) Dance Demo
64) <, < Combination "Right Walk Turn"
65) >, > Combination "Left Walk Turn"
66) Forward, Forward Combination "Slow Walk Forward"
67) Backward, Backward Combination "Slow Walk Backward"
 

Besides these simple functions, you can also program Robosapien to execute
‘macros’. These macros can include 14 commands (steps). Although they can’t be
saved, they will be retained for up to 2hrs after the robot goes to sleep.

There are 4 programs that can be created:

1. Master Program. General control programs
2. Right Sensor Program. Triggered by touch to finger, toe or heel sensor on
right side
3. Left Sensor Program. Triggered by touch to finger, toe or heel sensor on left
side
4. Sonic Sensor Program. Triggered by a sharp sound or tap on his body

You can extend the 14 step limitation by linking in a program from all 4
sensors. If you visit the
Robosapienonline
website, there is even a set of program instructions that
you can download to turn your robot into a sentry guard.

I didn’t really get into creating programs for the robot since I knew they
would be lost as soon as I turned him off. I enjoyed just pushing buttons and
experimenting with different objects to see if I could get him to pick them up.

Arm and body movements are surprisingly smooth and make a really cool
hydraulic type noise. He can also walk well on any hard flat surface. Some of
the demo modes will actually cause you to laugh out loud. The many sounds that
he can make are also amusing, like the hiiiiiya! karate chop
sound. Check out a movie that I made of the Robosapien in
dance mode. He’s even playing his own music!



Click image to see .wmv movie (2mb)

Robosapien makes a great toy for both kids and adults. Kids ages 6 and up
will have no trouble pressing buttons on the remote in order to control his
movements. Just don’t let the kids drop Robosapien. Although he feels pretty
sturdy, I’m quite sure that a short fall onto a hard surface would damage him.

Adults can take controlling Robosapien to the next level by using a Palm PDA
and an application called
SapBench
. This program turns the Palm PDA into the handheld remote.

I had a ton of fun playing with this robot. Even my kitten Max made friends!

Even though I’ve never had a robot toy before, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to
say that Robosapien has to be one of the best available.

 

Price: $89.99 from
ThinkGeek.com

Pros:
Fun!
More fun!

Cons:
Batteries not included
Programs aren’t retained after robot shuts off

 

Product Information

Price:89.99
Manufacturer:Think Geek
Pros:
  • Fun!
  • More fun!
Cons:
  • Batteries not included
  • Programs aren't retained after robot shuts off
Posted in: Geek Toys

{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Julie September 4, 2004, 4:42 am

    Post your comments here on the Robosapien Review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/robosapien-review.html

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • trophyofgrace September 4, 2004, 11:43 am

    That picture of the robot and the kitten is just too cute!

  • Julie September 4, 2004, 3:03 pm

    That’s Max. He’s a gadget freak! :)

  • trophyofgrace September 4, 2004, 4:46 pm

    The weird thing is, they sorta look alike :D

  • flamaest September 5, 2004, 5:09 am

    saw this review on amazon.. it hits the mark..

    ——————
    Not worth the money., July 17, 2004
    Reviewer: John Strpko (St. Johns, MI United States) – See all my reviews
    The robot has some entertainment value when it first comes out of the box, but that goes away fairly quick. The motion is not very fluid, it kinda shuffles to walk, you don’t have direct control over opening or closing the hands, it basically only has one pre-programmed pick-up motion. It says that it’s programmable, which it is, but it doesn’t remember the programming after it shuts off. This simply is not the NASA designed, fluid motion, humaniod robot that I thought I was getting. I would wait till retailers realize this isn’t a hundred dollar toy, and get it on clearance for under fifty bucks.

    F.

  • trophyofgrace September 5, 2004, 12:09 pm

    As with any toy, it loses it’s “playability” after a while.

    If toys didn’t lose their playability, Judie would probably still be using the Palm OS, and we wouldn’t have The Gadgeteer Garage Sales.

    And because things lose their playability, we must pay accordingly. If you think you’ll get $100 worth of play out of it, great. If you don’t think you won’t, then don’t buy it, and don’t whine because the price is too high.

    I don’t mean to be hateful or mean in any way, but that’s the way I see this.

  • Julie September 7, 2004, 2:17 pm

    For what it can do, I think the $90 price for Robosapien is justified. It has not been out too long, so I’m sure the price will go down accordingly. Also, I really can’t imagine anyone believing that this is a ‘real’ robot. What kind of real robot would you get for only $90? This is a toy and is being marketed as such. This is very evident if you go to the http://www.robosapienonline.com website and watch the commercials.

  • Judie September 7, 2004, 3:28 pm

    I for one am actually quite impressed with what you get for the price.

    Julie, remember the Sony Aibo we reviewed a couple years ago? It was $1500 and couldn’t do all that much more than this little guy can.

    Hopefully Robosapien’s creator will continue to develop this toy…and will perhaps eventually release a high end model that can do everything we want a mini-me robot to do…like make me a no-foam cafe latte with 3 sweet&lows and serve it to me on the couch. :wow:

  • keerkeer October 1, 2004, 7:36 pm
  • Julie October 1, 2004, 8:55 pm

    keerkeer:

    Too funny!!! :)

  • programmer267689 December 9, 2006, 3:28 pm

    julie,did you know…robosapien comes in different colors. some of them are sold out! :wow: I have a gray robosapien that came in a special edition box! :D lucky me! oh,by the way,I was enjoying programing AND pressing buttons.:)

    ah,yes! roboapien is now replaced with robosapien V2,It is $200 and coming in june 2007….RS media! theese are the second and third generations of robosapien. but beware! RS media is $350! :wow: f53a_1.JPG

    7538_1.JPG

  • Glenda Ebert February 16, 2010, 9:36 am

    Where can I get the user guide instructions for my Robosapian? I bought mine used at a consignment shop and it didn’t have the instructions with it.I paid a big whoppin’ $4.OO for it

  • Julie February 17, 2010, 8:09 pm

    @Glenda Ebert The manual can be downloaded from WowWee’s site: http://www.wowwee.com/en/support/robosapien

  • dragutin March 14, 2013, 9:44 pm

    If anyone has the remote for sale in canada orr states 403 390 2559

  • Ralph June 2, 2013, 3:59 pm

    Bought a Robosapien V1 in a flea market for $7, but no remote. If somebody has one for a good price, please email me, delmargroup@gmail.com

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