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Tomy i-Sobot: Attack of the 6-1/2″ Robot

on June 7, 2009 10:30 am

isobot-500x200Review of the Tomy i-Sobot

According to the Tomy i-Sobot website, this is the world’s smallest humanoid robot in production, as per Guiness World Records.  With 17 servos and only 6-1/2″ high, it could be.

And I should be one to talk about the “smallest”.  In 2001 I participated in TLC’s “Robotica” (Wikipedia link), a robot combat show, in Season 3. (That’s me on the right with the dumb grin on my face).  The robot we built, “Nemo’s Nemesis” weighed in at a hefty 200 lbs or more, and four feet across.  We maxed out the size restrictions, thinking it would give us an edge.  (It did not.)

So let’s look at something much, much smaller!

isobot-ipod

The i-Sobot stands a mere 6-1/2 inches tall.  The articulated joints give the i-Sobot an incredible range of motion.  And, it’s fun to pose.

The i-Sobot requires 3xAAA batteries, and Tomy has included rechargeable NiMH Sanyo Eneloop batteries.  The remote takes AA batteries (not included).  Tomy says it should run for 60 minutes under normal use.

isobot-front

When you power it on, the i-Sobot stands upright.  A green “eye” lights up.  A blue side-light on the side of the head can be turned on and off separately.

isobot-headisobot-backThere are two switches on the back.  One is for power, the other is a channel selector.  The remote control is infrared, and the IR sensor is on the robot’s shoulder.

isobot-shoulderThe remote itself is smallish.  Quite suitable for the recommended ages 10+ range.  There are two joysticks, a bunch of buttons, and an LCD display in the center.

isobot-controller1isobot-controller2isobot-cardI thought the i-Sobot would be a lot more fun to play with, but I quickly hit a very steep learning curve.  Tomy included a large cheat-sheet, double-sided, with the pre-programmed commands for impatient kids like me.  The number of combinations are bewildering.  I didn’t even bother trying to learn how to program.

Now let’s take a look at the i-Sobot in action!

Movie: i-Sobot startup sequence (MOV)

Movie: i-Sobot basic moves

Movie: i-Sobot exercise

Movie: i-Sobot air guitar

Movie: i-Sobot voice control

isobot-bridge

isobot-rampage

The i-Sobot is fun… but I quickly got bored with it after a few minutes, mostly because I got tired of look at the reference card, poking in commands, and being frustrated I couldn’t pick anything up with the fingers- which I did not realize are not remote controllable.  I did have a hoot posing the i-Sobot going on a rampage, however!

 

Product Information

Price:$179.99
Manufacturer:Tomy
Pros:
  • Really small! The pre-programmed commands are fun. Comes with rechargeable NiMH AAA's for the robot. And thank goodness they include a cheat-sheet card.
Cons:
  • Wrist and fingers not remote controllable, a bewildering array of commands possible.

Comments

  1. 1
    Mark Adkins says:

    Sounds almost exactly like my experience with Robo-Sapien! Lots of fun for about an hour, never used it again.

    I keep figuring that SOMEDAY SOMEONE will make a robot that can actually do something, like fetch a tool or pen from across the room, etc. A ‘helper bot’ of some sort, perhaps with optional attachments for different sorts of jobs. Gads, it sounds like I am re-imagining the Roomba!

  2. 2
    Andy Chen says:

    Yes… if we only had a robot that was autonomous. Say, could re-charge itself. Do something useful, like… sweep the floor! I know, we could give it a clever name. Rumba? Room-bot? Hmmmm :)

  3. 3
    brado says:

    i want one they are uber cool

  4. 4
    FatboyDimUK says:

    Guys!
    That the just the first step…. Before you know it Skynet is booted up and you’ll be running from T200’s ;)

    Dan

  5. 5
    Andy Chen says:

    Well, as you can see from the last two photos, they are prone to becoming self-aware and attack!

  6. 6

    [...] noticed something odd on The Gadgeteer when I pulled up Andy’s review of the Tomy i-Sobot and clicked on one of the video links (.mov files). The first time I tried it, the screen auto [...]

  7. 7

    [...] also makes a handy big-screen viewing experience for i-Sobot and his [...]

  8. 8

    [...] Next up was the Bioloid booth, another robotics construction set reminiscent of iSobot. [...]

  9. 9
    thomas says:

    i love robotics and want this robot so bad but my parents cant afford it so i was wondering if you could lower the price

  10. 10
    Julie says:

    @thomas I’m sorry, but we don’t sell products on this site. We review them :)

  11. 11
    Esteban says:

    you can get it at abt.com for 100$, shipping is free but its a 3 week wait if its backordered…..

  12. 12
    dillon fancher says:

    please help. lost remote and instructions for i sobot. where to get replacement?

  13. 13

    @dillon You’ll probably need to contact Tomy directly. We don’t sell or support their products, we just reviewed them.

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