Oct 7, 2011

RoboPhilo was a long time on my wishlist. But I finally saved up the smackeroos to afford the RoboPhilo Jr and so I sent off to RoboBrothers and picked me up one. Woo …hoo. It was a little traumatic getting him, what with part of his stand missing and the servo damage he did to himself in the first ten seconds of operation. I put him in demo mode and set him on the flat linoleum floor of the kitchen, my video camera on a pripod recording the momentus first steps if my pipedal robot. He took three steps and then fell over backwards and extended his arms and legs all akimbo. The left hip servo started making a whirring sound and the robot stopped trying to move its leg. I picked it up and tried to set it back on its feet, but the hip servo wouldn’t support it. Since I happened to have a few same size servos I changed out the hip and put him back on the floor.

He did his little demo, showing fighting stances and doing a somersault (albeit slow motion), and generally roboting around. He came with a game controller attuned to the robot so he might be articulated by a user in addition to being programmable. There’s a whole software suite that comes with the RoboPhilo in order to create your own moves and store them for later use. You can assemble antire programs by chaining your moves together. Or, I suppose you could just sit around and watch him do his demo routine over and over.

I don’t know why the little fella fell over and broke so easily. I have sucked wind on a few occasions where the robot experienced undue trauma. It fell off the bed once, fell down two wooden stairs before coming to a stop, and having a door accidentally slammed into him and sending him skidding and tumbling across the floor. The one who did it had no idea th robot was there when they swung the door open. In each case, the robot came through without a hitch! I do admit the constantly checking to make sure things that were tightened stayed that way, and generally treat it pretty well. It spends a great deal of its time on my shelf, hanging from it’s tripod stand.

I made an adapter for the charging connections and keep the robo on charge when it isn’t in use. Which, over the year of owenership has waned. I guess if you added up all the time spent operating the RoboPhilo Jr the sum would be around 5 hours. While it doesn’t sound like much, remember that the robot only gets about 15 minutes of operating time on a charge, so it’s use it a little and then hang it up with the charger attached. That works out to my using it about 20 times in the 12 months I’ve owned it. But, the robot serves a purpose as it adorns my shelf; it is added to the minutiae¬†crowding my horizontal surfaces as robotic project muses. A trigger for daydreaming, and I think that has value to be taken seriously.

Then too, I have been learning the art of robot building, taking the slow road by trying a little of everything in order to get on handle on what’s out there and how I might use it. I have been consumed with making wheeled and tracked vehicles that can find their own way –or can be commanded by radio remote control. I am also playing with R/C airplanes and helicopters, both radio controlled and autonomous, or computer stabilized. The RoboPhilo is one of the robots I like the best in my collection and I expect it will remain that way. Both because I enjoy the robot, and it took me over a month of pushing and nagging to finally get the missing stand part –and display it proudly.









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