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
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
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.
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
27) Left Hand Thump
28) Left Hand Pickup
29) Lean Forward
30) Left Hand Throw
32) Forward Step
33) Right Turn Step
34) Backward Step
|35) Right Sensor Program Execute |
36) Master Command Program Execute
37) Wake Up
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
47) Right Hand Strike 2
48) Left Hand Sweep
49) Talk Back
50) Left Hand Strike 1
52) Left Hand Strike 2
54) Right Hand Strike 3
57) All Demo
58) Power Off
60) Left Hand Strike 3
61) (Select) Return to RED Command Functions
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!
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
Batteries not included
Programs aren’t retained after robot shuts off