Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Mini-Robot Available For Wreaking Havoc At Home 87

Verteiron writes: "Diversified Enterprises is showing off a new mini-robot that can do a whole variety of cool stuff. Called Descartes, this little thing can roll around in total silence, follow people, hunt down evil light sources, run away from 'threats' and draw pictures as seen in the nifty movies. It's also got a speaker, temperature sensors, 'bumper' sensors, and a slew of gadgets to make Sojourner jealous. It's fully programmable via PBASIC to do anything you want, and what's more, it's relatively cheap. The evil possibilities of this device fill my heart with glee ..." "Relatively cheap" in this case translates into about $250, delivered. What I'd like to see, though, is an aquatic version!
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mini-Robot Available For Wreaking Havoc At Home

Comments Filter:
  • Goodness knows if I ever AC'd I wouldn't bother signing my name as the responses would be wanting proof and proclaiming the lad a lying festering troll.

    Aside from that it's been nice weather here in India, I must admit. Now for the trans-siberian express.

  • Erm...I can't seem to get to the site (if I am not the first person to say this, I am sorry) It appears to be either /.ed or down or something....does anyone have a mirror?

    ontopic note: this stuff is for the sissies that can't build their robots out of mindstorms legos!

  • Hmmmm Aquatic huh? Can anyone say "plastic shark fin and superglue"?. Hehehe Evil.
  • What would be the advantage of buying this?

    For $250 bucks, you could go out and buy yourself a some mindstorms [lego.com] and an add on kit (May I suggest the videocam addon?) and build this exact bot. And have a lot more fun doing it.
  • Hey, if you need aquatic, you can do it yourself and enter the AUVSI competition next year :

    http://www.auvsi.org/auvcomp.htm [auvsi.org]

    And if you've got money, you can sponsor us ;-):

    http://www.auvsi.org/auvcomp.htm [etsmtl.ca]
  • Im sure when you said "laser pointer" you meant 10Mw anti-tank laser

  • Now that is just silly. I'd just buy one and teach it to use my CueCat.
  • Diversified has been marking this bot for some time now. IMHO I think it pales in comparision to the Pocketbot which is marketed by Diversified and is much more upgradable. The only problem I have is that the components for these robots are extremely inexpensive and they have prices that are far to expensive respectively. The stamp chip is only $50 and the motors are literally pennies at surplus stores.
  • I wonder if with a little poking around it wouldn't be possible to send commands directly to the PIC16C71 processor on the thing. The PIC seems to control all the motor and sensor functions and translate them into things PBASIC can easily use. If you could send commands directly to it you'd probably end up with a much more powerful, "hackable" language... Or, I could be talking out my ass :)
  • Well, it can be 7:30 GMT everywhere in the world, at the same time :>

    ---- Sigs are bad for your health ----

  • I work at the university of maryland Space systems lab. At the SSL we have a gian neutral bouancy tank where we can simulate on orbit testing. The SSL has been working on a robot called ranger [umd.edu] since 1990. It has been modified slightly to work in an underwater environment. If you have $20 Million you can get your own

  • I forgot to mention...twice a day.

    ---- Sigs are bad for your health ----

  • Ahh... the site must have gotten Slashdotted, I'm getting no response from the server. Anyway, I was wondering if anybody remembers Omnibot [clinton.net] and his big brother Omnibot2000 from the '80s? I had an Omnibot2000 and these were really neat robots. They had 360 degree rotating wrist, 1 servo actuated arm, and a working gripper. It also had a neat server try that clipped onto his chest and could index drinks and pick them up with his arm and hand them to you. Best of all, his tape player also served to record programs. Yep, you could "teach" him by recording while driving him with the remote control. And as if that wasn't enough, he was an alarm clock also and you could have him set to start running a program at whatever time you wanted. I'm not sure how much they went for new, but you can still pick one up for under 200 bucks at Ebay [ebay.com]. Does anyone still have one of these?

  • That would be cool. Especially if it had a little cowboy hat.
  • in a heathkit. We need to make an open sourced brain for a robot that runs linux... Then we put the brain in a body of a Ford Bronco with a full tank of gas, and a herd of cattle and let it go nuts!!!! *evil grin* The one to die with the most toys wins!
  • I just got done reading an article in this months' issue of Popular Science that discusses three or four up-and-coming robots that will be commercially available. They're a bit pricey at around $4K a pop, BUT...one in particular (irobot, www.irobot.com [irobot.com]), even runs LINUX as its OS.
  • Either you don't have enough spit, or your monitor is too dirty. It has to be *squeaky* clean. Works fine on my Philips Magnavox. Clean your monitor and get your finger really wet. Rub hard. Hold the outer frame of the monitor still (but only touch the CRT with your wet finger). If it still doesn't work, call Sony and ask for a replacement. Oh.. umm.. you are rubbing it accross the surface of the CRT, right? Rubbing accross the outer casing makes no music at all. Also, I can't overstress the importance of cleanliness. If there are any abrasive dust particles, it could damage the surface of your monitor. When done properly, it makes a pleasant sound akin to the ringing you get when you play a brandy snifter.

  • Yeah, I got an Omnibot 2000, with the tray - but no base mat. I picked up a copy of the instructions from a dealer on EBay (he was selling a 2000, and for the cost of copying and postage, made a copy of the manual for me). I also own a Verbot, and a Chatbot - and a couple of Armatrons. I hope to get a regular Omnibot sometime. I would love a complete Tomy 'bot collection - but some of the 'bots are collectors items, and are tough to get, or expensive (two of the top of my head I can think of that meet this criteria are the 'bot that looks like an owl, and the one that can roam your desk vacuuming up bits of paper).

    Anyhow, the cool thing about the Omnibot 2000 was the number of I/O ports on the back of the 'bot. According to my copy of the manual, these were meant for future expansion options (ultrasound sensors, and computer interfacing) that never materialized (AFAIK).

    The Armatrons are also neat. One motor, two joysticks, and a helluva transmission to perform really complex tasks - there was an interfacing article in one of the summer issues of Radio-Electronics, in 1986 or so. Hooked up to a C=64...

    Sadly, TOMY knows hardly anything of its past - Armatron was the height of TOMY in the 80's, and they sold the repro rights to Tandy - it is VERY difficult to find a TOMY Armatron - most are the Radio Shack branded ones (same tech - no prob there, but not the same if you collect 80's TOMY toys)...

    I support the EFF [eff.org] - do you?
  • Maybe it was a Milton Bradley Big Trak (and your memory is fuzzy - 'cause I don't remember the red beam - blue beam yes, red - no). Or maybe it was another toy?

    I am wondering if anyone remembers the Brain Buggy - made by some off-brand toy maker (can't remember the name). Came out at the same time as MB's Big Trak - looked almost like a Hummer.

    I somehow got lucky enough to get both for Xmas - but I always liked my Big Trak more...

    I support the EFF [eff.org] - do you?
  • by cr0sh ( 43134 )
    Whatever happened to low cost bots? Does anybody remember Movits [owirobot.com]? These are real low cost kits. They use to sell one called the "Memocon Crawler", that could be hooked up to an Apple IIe or a PC - nowadays the WAO takes on that role.

    I first got interested in these kits when I read an article about them in an old issue of Creative Computing - only a few of the original robots are still being sold in kit form (Medusa is one, Peppy is another - though the body style has changed over the years).

    Sure, these aren't as sophisticated, but they are a lot less expensive, and fun nonetheless. They also sell a robotic arm kit that has an interface to a PC as well. If you want lower level building, they also sell a variety of gearbox kits. On top of all this, many of their kits are available at Frys Electronics...

    I support the EFF [eff.org] - do you?
  • Having played around only a little bit with my Mindstorms kit, I can say that it's quite easy to be surprised and fascinated by the behavior that "emerges" from even simple programs utilizing biological type feedback loops.

    My only gripe would be the limited storage capacity and input/output channels, but since I've come nowhere near exhausting those on a standard RCX yet, I can't really complain too loudly. Still, I find myself feeling like Turing in the early days, musing about just what would be possible if I had a WHOLE MEG to play with.

    So, has anybody published a hack for adding more memory to your RCX? How much can the Motorola chip address?

  • Hey cr0sh, check out this [clinton.net] link from this [clinton.net] page for those "expansion" gizmo's that you said never came to be. They did, and this guy seems to have them. You can email him and mabey he can tell you where he found them. Good luck!

  • by GroovBird ( 209391 ) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @11:09PM (#723040) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about you, but I'd pick the Lego Mindstorms over this kit anytime.

    Either you program it using the 'blocks' or NQC, or you choose to install LegOS and hack away on it as a real embedded programmer would. Not to mention the 'reusability' and the fact that it has infrared...

  • ...be like if you mate this thing and the geek gift vacuum cleaner...
  • ...at this time of night? wow, I'm impressed. I't took a whole minute or 2 toload the picture of the damn thing.

    Back on topic, I'll be the first to get in line for one of these things, although its not as powerful as the giant war mech I was imagining, it will do until I become an arab shiek...
  • If you get 2 of these and an alibo and when it comes out albios friend (the one i predect is unfortunatally going to be modled after tux) you could have 4 pets =P~ perfect for the person with alergies to sunlight...... like all of have.... my question is why did they chose a form of basic wouldnt it be superior if it used c++ i mean there is only so much you can do with basic... but this may open a new market, since software is getting better at detecting bots on quake servers you could buy 2 of these puppies put one in control of the mouse and the other on the keyboard so that you could have a "real" quake bot.... the good point is when quake500,000 comes out you wont have to worry about finding yet another bot =P~
    D D..I..EE...T..U.U..X.
  • I never actually got to play with one of the mechanical turtles but we had Logo in grade school. We had C-64s with a little triangle that represented the turtle. I don't think I can remember a single Logo command anymore. go 30? left 45? lift pen? something like that.
  • I think it would suck...
  • Basic? Hmm...

    10 DETECT Cat
    20 ANNOY Cat
    30 GOTO 10

  • So, who's going to be first to implement a TCP/IP stack on Descartes?

    And when's the NetBSD port due for release?
  • by upper ( 373 ) on Saturday October 07, 2000 @11:40PM (#723048)
    Decartes has been shipping for a year or two, and robots with similar or greater capabilities have been available commercially for 5 years. Some are programmable in C and have roughly the computing power of an apple ][ or an atari 2600. Try robotstore [robotstore.com] or arrick [arrick.com].
  • PBASIC is a somewhat limited form of BASIC, I believe that it can't do fractions, and some other stuff, I made a robot over the summer that used it, HEY, if PAUL YOST from shawnee state U is reading this, HELP THIS GUY OUT.
    Paul's the guy who was the teacher dude at the college week thing I went to this summer to make my robot.

    But seriously, if I were to make a robot or such, I would us an oopic chip, it can be programed in C, VBasic, and and one other one I can't remember at the moment. and is very versetile, in that is has stuff like A to D registers and stuff, my Uncle made a robot that used one, and is awsome, in that the coding for it is only about 2 pages long, and he has it set on a truck that has IR sensors and IR LED's on the front, so that when it gets close to the wall or such, it will back away from it and go in the other direction, perty cool
  • Sorry for you but it's allready available from LEGO, it's called Radio Control Racer, don't have the number handy, but you can see it at etoys:
    • http://www.etoys.com/prod/toy/50208181

    • I bought it for my son...he,he. But had no time to play with it, would be great to combine it with mindstorms or Cybermaster.

      Sad, but the story links don't work for me...looks as if those servers were slashdoted...:-)

  • the only thing that I want something like this for is to get me beer out of the fridge. Dogs can already be trained to do that and more. In the long run I suppose (since you don't feed this thing) it would be less money, but.. Can the little bastard crawl up onto the couch w/you and cuddle? The god damn thing may think that my "light saber" is an evil light source and run away ;)

    - Bill
  • I bought it for my son...he,he. But had no time to play with it

    Son: "Dad, how come the batteries are dead?"
    Dad: "Errrrrr..."

  • the omnibot in the 80s was called the Omni-Photovore.

    i still have mine, though i havent let it run amok in my house since the cat tried to eat it.
  • 7:30 am Mountain time and the place is already slashdotted! What's up with that? Too much caffeine?
  • Honda has a developmental bi-pedal robot that looks like a human in a spacesuit. It has 4 independant limbs and balance control. It can negotiate stairs and will use it's arms/hands to stabilize itself. I think they want to put basic neural net functionality in it too (so it can do complex tasks like hoola-hooping).

    They are developing this at a 'secret test facility' (according to the press). But, if you really want, and have the credentials (e.g. Ph.D in cognitive psychology) and would like to preview i don't know if they wouldn't let you. Of course, you'd probably have to play with it in Japan.
  • Robots like this have been available for a lot longer than five years. I remember a robot with a similar drivetrain to Descartes being available in the UK in the eighties -- it was typically used with a BBC Micro. I'm fairly certain that even that wasn't the first.
  • I'd settle for a YF-19 from Macross Plus, but I can't even find Shinsei Industries' home page. Next thing you're going to tell me is that nothing as heavy as a humanoid robot could fly on wings that small...but I saw it on the Tee Vee!

    And, due to a contract dispute with those bastards at Harmony Gold, I can't even buy the toy at a reasonable price. Grr. http://www.valkyrie-exchange.com/toycom.html
  • I WANT ONE, I WANT ONE, I WANT ONE... (basically, just cause it's a really fancy toy- i love toys...)
  • My school in the early 80s had a series of "tank" robots that you could program instructions into. These went along the lines of forward 30, rotate 45degrees left, forward 5, rotate turret 15degrees right, fire 4 times, return to starting point. They were cool as hell, but even at the time (I was just a wee lad after all) neither my parents or the school could find any more of them, and no one at the school seemed to know where they had come from. The best I can remember of their appearance is they were about the size of a lunchbox, mostly dark blue with a keypad on the back, and "firing" consisted of the red light at the end of the turret lighting up. Anyone else have any idea what these were?
  • that's why you should't put Descartes before the horse.
  • Thank you for that information - I put in a question asking if he knew how the ports worked. If I could get a schematic it would be clear - I have given some thought on RE'ing the thing, but I haven't had much time to do such a thing yet...

    I support the EFF [eff.org] - do you?
  • Oh man!! I remember Omnibot.. I think it's still in my parent's garage somewhere!

    How about the tape-deck data recorder??? :)

    I retired my omnibot when my cat puked on the "home base" station (basically a piece of cardboard). Man, those were the days :)
  • Honestly, a robot which on purpose makes my room more messy than it is currenty, would not be welcome. How many of you think that after a couple of days it would be a total pain in the ass? :P Fantastic robot anyhow, but its social attempts ? :P
  • I want one!

    I could program it to bring me my slippers, and bark, and act like a dog... oh, wait, that's the AIBO. ;)

    What's PBASIC? Is it related to Visual Basic?

    Descarte, eh? Does it think, therefore it am?
  • Cool! This is the year 2000 version of the Logo Turtle. Anybody remember these things from like the 70s or early 80s? I wonder if somebody will come up with a Logo interpreter for this thing ...
  • egads! It's got a parallax stamp in it. Memories of ME451 class!

    pbasic is not terribly powerful, even compared to other basics. While other students were building swiveling light sensors and robot cars for class, I managed to cram tetris onto a Stamp II. There weren't any LCD displays handy, so you had to play it over a serial cable. Fun project--very un-fun programming language.
  • Everything in robotics still seems like the toys I had in the mid 70's (plus fancy features). I dunno, but it seems to me that we should a lot further along than this.

  • Surely one of these lil' bastards that will seek out prey would be much more fun... and keep the pets entertained. oh well - it is programable.
  • I did get the first even somewhat relevant post, so FYAYMT.

    As for my dick, it does what I need it to do.
  • I would have to agree it look like something that was built from parts bought at radio shack
  • This robot's sensors are way better than mindstorms, but I'd still have to agree with you.

    If any of you hardware geeks out there are listening, there is a market here. Make a microcontroller brick that fails to suck and is interoperable with lego (ie has lego panels stuck to the top and bottom), compatibility with the programming environments could be irratating, but imagine what you could do with a mindstorms that had 8 analogue in's (provide sensor bricks too), 8 digital ins and 8 trinary outs (the brick being big enough to support 24 2x2 plug blocks)

    My other 'lego product begging to be made' idea is radio controlled servos for lego (and a radio control reciever). Might make this one myself as I can just buy an off the shelf radio control and put it in lego blocks.

    Suppose I should post these to ShouldExist.org [shouldexist.org] at some point. RC lego might already exist, but I'd be willing to bet they didn't do it properly - probably have a tiny lego-ified handset etc :)
  • The only problem is Lego will sue the hell out of the creator for patent infringment. Why do you think there are no other companys competing with Lego making compatible blocks?
  • It wasn't 7.30 everywhere in the world of course...
  • It has an optional RF controller [divent.com] (Google Mirror) [google.com] that they claim permits multiple Descartes to communicate with each other.

    If the powers of PBASIC are too limited, why not have the robot transmit its sensor readings to, and receive its commands from, another full-sized PC with an RF module attached to it. Basically (no pun intended) move the computing power over to a platform that can readily support it. Then, you can program in whatever language you like, with however much computing power you desire.

    Caveat: I don't know if this particular RF controller is supposed to be able to be connected to a PC. I'm more of a software dude, so I'd appreciate any input from someone who is more hardware-savy. (Hmmm, maybe even a wireless ethernet or bluetooth transceiver? Don't know about power consumption, size, weight.)

  • This might even replace my younger brother.

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits" -Albert Einstein [uni-frankfurt.de]


  • Erm, is it feasible yet to re-assemble pieces from one of the superslim notebooks (i.e. the Sony VAIO 505's or somesuch) and ditch the LCD and extraneous parts, giving one of these little guys a full-on x86 architecture? If not, what about one of the matchbox 486's Slashdot is so keen on running duplicate articles about?

    I guess what I'd like to see is a robot that runs a fairly powerful chipset with the possibilities of using a laptop hard drive or flash memory card, that would allow more powerful logic to be used, and had low power consumption. Dream on, right? ;-)

  • Bluefin Robotics [bluefinrobotics.com] makes underwater autonomous robots. You may not like the pricing or availability, though. UT Applied Research Labs [utexas.edu] makes a version that lives on the surface of the ocean and listens for missle impacts in ICBM tests.

    Just about any robot you want is out there if you look hard enough.

  • /begin Phantom Menace ref

    That main page picture is of it "naked"! It's parts are showing!

    /end ref

  • Man, this sort of thing isn't new at all. Some of my friends and I built something out of a kit identical to this almost two years ago. It was from a catalogue my friend Val had, and called "GroBot". The price isn't even cheaper, if anything, it's more expensive. I would recommend this sort of thing, though, for anyone interested in home-made robots. We since made a much larger and complex robot, also using PBASIC, as much of a pain as it is. Once you get the hang of it, it's not so bad, and it's convenient in that it works with all Paralax products. I am pretty sure that is what the P in PBASIC stands for. In any event, this sort of thing is not at all new, but it is pretty cool.
  • Want an aquatic robot? Check out the MicroSeeker. [huv.com] It's not commercially available, but it seems like it will be someday. What makes this robot interesting is that it runs Smalltalk [smalltalk.org], as opposed to a crappier language like the variants of C and BASIC most robos run. There's PIC/Smalltalk for the motor control, a Handspring Visor running PocketSmalltalk [pocketsmalltalk.com] for high-level control, and the simulator is written in Squeak [squeak.org]. A veritable cornacopia of Robotics and Smalltalk.
  • Just about any robot you want is out there if you look hard enough.

    I've looked, believe me, and I can't find a Gundam anywhere. =)
  • If you had enough of these you could make a Homeworld level and play with your friends.
  • My first exposure to programming was programming in logo on an Apple ][e i still have all my programs, now if i can only find a 5 1/4" floppy drive so that i can read them, its all good. Logo kinda rem inds me of html mixed with basic but i digress.

  • ERROR: variable "Cat" is undefined

  • c'mon, you're supposed to be nerds! get out your frickin toolkit and start hackin'

    Alas, the days when a nerd could be identified by his solder burns are long past. Aside from a few overclocking fanatics ($1000 worth of helium to squeeze out $100 worth of performance!), everybody seems to prefer to use off the shelf logic. Even MIT's famous robot-building competition [mit.edu] seems to rely largely on pre-built components.

    Nowadays "nerd" is more or less synonymous with "software nerd".


  • When it comes to robots, I like to build my own! My robot is at nfn.no-ip.net/spazbot I'm entering it into a firefighting robot contest. The "sensor array" pans to the left, right and up and down." I can even detect a stairway and avoid it! It's six wheel drive. it's funny that they mention an encoder on each wheel.. I wrote a program called suretrack, and I use multiple encoders and error correction. I can detect acceleration, if one wheel is going faster than the other, also I can detect if I am stuck on something. The robot is even capable of climbing over bones my dog leaves around the house. Spazbot is built from scratch and I might post up plans. Also Spazbot's power source is from a 9.6v 3ah/r camcorder battery.. If I was powered the same way as featured in the link I would be down in 10 minutes, my Polaroid Sonar takes consumes 2amps for a few ms for every ping! I used Linux as the development environment for Spazbot. I would not use the basic stamp for a serious robotic platform. My outdoor drobot which may be a modified Power wheels Wild Thing" is based on a Motorolla 68332 w/512k flash, 512k ram, and 4 SPI ports and lots of IO! Again the link is nfn.no-ip.com
  • PBasic is a subset of the BASIC language specifically designed for embedded systems (like robotics). It contains just about all the looping and conditional statements of BASIC and also has constructs for low-level things. It is possible to access individual bytes of words and individual bits of bytes. It also has special commands for using a serial port and sine waves.

    As far as I know, PBasic is only available on Parallax's [parallaxinc.com] line of Basic Stamp controllers. I personally have used the Basic Stamp II and Basic Stamp IIx. For those interested, these controllers have a wopping 16 bytes of RAM (not a typo) and about 500 bytes of ROM. These run a compiled form of PBasic and as far as I've been able to determine there is a one-to-one correlation between PBasic and machine code. That probably explains the ease of accessing parts of Bytes and Words and also the fact that conditional statements use a goto (i.e. if the condition passes it most goto a certain line of code). PBasic is also limited to 26 variables. It's powerful for what it needs to do and is more or less adequate although I do prefer other languages to it.

    Matt Leese

  • There doesn't seem to be much difference between this unit and my Mindstorms besides the expandibility of my Mindstorms, and the fact that I can add Legos to my Mindstorms. Oh, boy!
  • I'm just curious if anyone has been successful programming one of these or other BASIC Stamp II based robots by running the DOS software under DOSEMU? I tried running the program, and that works, but I don't have a robot yet, so I don't know if the downloading works.
  • This is a fine looking mobile computer, however, I look forward to the day when I can have a robot with true AI. A robot that would think for itself. There isn't a whole lot of enjoyment to be found in programming movements because you already know what it's going to do. The thrill comes from the suprise of its responsiveness.
    For example, say I want it to get the morning paper for me that's out on the front porch.
    A programmable robot such as this one, would require the code to enable it to follow a certain path to the front door, utilize its sensors to avoid any obstacles, manipulate the doorknob, locate the paper, grasp the paper firmly and negotiate itself back to me. All in code that I have to write.
    A robot with it's own AI, given the same task, would be exciting to watch because the complete task would be created and executed primarily from the robot's brain. To observe the AI decision-making, calculating, and obstacle-computing is a type of creationism in itself.
    "Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet."

    Vote Homer Simpson for President!

  • look like a mildly improved version of those kits you can get at a electronics store for $20.

    c'mon, you're supposed to be nerds! get out your frickin toolkit and start hackin' -- must be a bunch of old printers laying around at the swap meet. just add some hours wiring up the boards and away you go. hint : google search for "steve ciarcia circuit cellar"

    those basic stamps are kinda cool, though.
  • Oh wait, that would be Aibo.

    Made me think of this poem I encountered in the wonderful game - Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri - as follows:

    A handsome young Cyborg named Ace,
    Wooed women at every base,
    But once ladies glanced at
    His special enhancement
    They vanished with nary a trace.

    -- Barracks Graffiti,
    Sparta Command

  • toro(sp?) was compatible to a degree.
    However I think you may be right, interoperability doesn't appear to be as protected in toyland. But lego has been around more than 20 years, what kind of patents do they have?
  • Whoop, Logo [holloway.co.nz]
  • I'd like to see some larger scale consumer robotic products

    Would you like to spend some larger scale money for them?

    Right now, a robot like you describe is a tough mass market sell. At least with the PC, we could convince the parents that you could balance the checkbook with it. Junior knew what it was really for.

    With the robot, "it'll annoy the pets" won't justify much of an outlay. It will have to be able to do something useful that would otherwise consume a lot of time, and it will have to do it reliably.

    Right now, there are no general purpose robots in the consumer price range that can be trusted to take out the garbage, load the dishwasher, mow the lawn, pick up dirty clothes, water the plants and vaccuum the rugs on a weekly basis. Are there even any research 'bots that can do that?

    I agree though, BASIC is lame. Maybe the underlying machine code is open so that gcc can be ported.

  • The nicest thing I can say about smalltalk is: "at least it isn't BASIC or PERL" Then there's a good chance you've never actually used it, outside of some poorly-taught OO design class.
  • yeah, our school used to have one, i think i still have the circle i made it draw :)
  • Shameful Self-promotion warning:

    I've been working on gold-fish-sized robotic aquarium fish for several months now. Got the prototypes, the business plan, the "dot com" reserved... Surprisingly, I'm serious about this.
    Check the web site in a few weeks for more info, or send me a note if you're interested... jason@aquaticrobotics.com

    .sig: You don't need no stinkin' .sig!

  • Excellent. Thanks for the link too - I especially liked:
    Another nice thing is that you can easily take jumps with it, because it is very strong. The only problem with taking jumps is that sometimes the Lego falls off.
    : )

    Anyway, etoys doesn't say much about the kit, so could you fill me in? First of all does it have a proper handset - ie an adult sized one compareable to a proper one and without lego stuff all over it (Maybe I'm just thinking inside a square but I don't see the point of putting lego on the handset)?
    What does the reciever system consit of - is it a reciever block with two standard trinary lego outputs requiring a power source, or is it a reciever block with two special servo plugs and lego servos or what?
    Everyone mentions the batteries - what batteries does the car take (different ones for wheels vs reciever?) and what does the transmitter take?


    (All I need to get now is a son to buy this for)
  • to please provide me a detailed comparison of this bad boy to the lego mindstorms set? i'm really lacking a hobby, and i've been thinking about picking up a mindstorms kit... so please, compare away...
    Lord Omlette
    ICQ# 77863057
  • You are a troll - and an ignorant troll with that : he was talking about Logo (the programming language), not Legos (the building game).
  • I look forward to the day when I can have a robot with true AI.

    Why would that be much different from having, say, a brother?
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 07, 2000 @11:03PM (#723104) Homepage
    "Relatively cheap" in this case translates into about $250, delivered. What I'd like to see, though, is an aquatic version!

    And I thought I was spoiled! It's a ROBOT!!!! We FINALLY get them, and you complain that it's not AQUATIC?!?

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington