Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware Hacking Robotics Toys Build

For Building DIY Droids, It Helps to Live In Japan 38

Posted by timothy
from the this-is-not-heathkit-from-1978 dept.
destinyland writes "Want to build a robot this summer? 'Robot-loving Japanese are tinkering with screwdrivers and motors instead of heading to the beach,' and this article identifies the stores and sites serving robot hobbyists. Several sites are actually selling leftover industrial robots, but there's a variety of smaller-size robot vendors, from Tokyo's Vstone Robot Center to Carl's Electronics in Oakland (which sells sound-activated 'Hydradzoids' and solar-powered robots that crawl). Hasbro even sells their own functioning R2-D2 droid with real sonar navigation and a 'voice recognition response module.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

For Building DIY Droids, It Helps to Live In Japan

Comments Filter:
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:55PM (#27940793) Journal

    Hasbro even sells their own functioning R2-D2 droid with real sonar navigation and a 'voice recognition response module.

    And at a hieght of only 15", it's as close to the original as you're going to get without needing your very own circus and cabaret performer [wikipedia.org] to power it!

    Kenny Baker says, "This tin can is #$^!ing hot in Tunisia ... oops, I mean ... *boo-boop bee-boo-doop*!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NecroBones (513779) *

      For a life-size R2 droid, one need not look any further than here in the US (and Europe), with the R2-Builders club.

      astromech.net [astromech.net] is just one associated website.

  • No thanks (Score:5, Funny)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:58PM (#27940839) Homepage

    Those aren't the droids I was looking for.

  • Oh Sure ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:02PM (#27940877) Journal
    Everyone's all excited about R2D2 droid but when you build a robotic wookie that challenges you to a game of chess and then rips your arms off when you beat him, you've gone too far!
  • In the US ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:02PM (#27940893) Homepage Journal

    What are the chances that if you opened up a such a store in the US, you would have homeland security checking out your credentials?

    • by Daravon (848487) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:07PM (#27940985)

      They can check my credentials all they want. They just have to fight their way past my legions of lesser robots, my eight larger robots (they command other robots, so I'll call them Robot Masters). At that point, they'll be inside the shop, and they'll have to fight a giant robot, copies of the first eight robot masters, and then me in my robot suit.

      Only then, can justice be served!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      Well why don't you ask carl ? [electronickits.com]
      idiot
    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      What are the chances that if you opened up a such a store in the US, you would have homeland security checking out your credentials?

      Can you explain why this would be the case?

      There are many Americans tinkering with robots and not being harassed by the government. Although I realize it's cool to pretend that the government is out to get you.

      These kinds of stores would likely struggle to see any level of success and would likely only get by as a general hobby store.

      You average American is unlikely to be inter

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:03PM (#27940913) Homepage

    Terrible article. See Robots Dreams [robots-dreams.com] for what's really going in Japanese hobbyist robotics. Especially what's happening with small humanoid robot competitions. Obstacle courses are routine now.

    This stuff is way ahead of the Lego Mindstorms, Battlebots, anf FIRST stuff you see in the US.

    I'd like to see Big Dog balance technology scaled down to toy size. It's not inherently expensive. All the cleverness is in the software and the math.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah but as you make it smaller, you need smaller, faster, more accurate accelerometers, actuators, etc. to keep it working. Gets expensive to scale something like that down.

    • I don't know in what sense you consider bag-o-servos humanoid robots to be advanced - you do realise they're just radio controlled, not autonomous, right? Most people just buy them as kits and screw them together. IMO anything you design yourself, or anything with any autonomy is miles ahead.

      Of course Japanese research robots - e.g. Asimo - are another story. But, ROBO-1 sumo competitions? Puhleeze....

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mashiki (184564)

      Sad thing here, 20yrs ago I could pick up just about anything I needed for my electronics needs. 10yrs ago, I had to start finding specialty stores within a 25mi radius, sometimes as far away as 100mi. No, most of those stores are gone. I really enjoy tinkering with stuff like this, the problem is people in North America don't. It's seems as if innovation has dried up and died.

      • by moortak (1273582)
        Most large cities feature industrial surplus stores that are great for parts. HGR here in Cleveland has robot welding arms, lasers, and all the switches, buttons and blades you could want.
        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Canada isn't like the US. We don't have the population density to maintain and support a large number of stores in most cases, smaller shops have dried up and gone away. This is half of the problem, while I live in Southern Ontario if I want something to do with robotics I now travel to Toronto. Roughly 2hrs away.

          I find that slightly depressing. Maybe moving to Japan would be a better choice if I want to continue this hobby. Then again I'd have to become a Japanese Citizen to continue my line of work.

          • Canada isn't like the US. We don't have the population density to maintain and support a large number of stores in most cases, smaller shops have dried up and gone away. This is half of the problem, while I live in Southern Ontario if I want something to do with robotics I now travel to Toronto. Roughly 2hrs away.

            I find that slightly depressing. Maybe moving to Japan would be a better choice if I want to continue this hobby. Then again I'd have to become a Japanese Citizen to continue my line of work.

            That's what online robotics stores are for. Try robotshop.ca.

      • by Animats (122034)

        Sad thing here, 20yrs ago I could pick up just about anything I needed for my electronics needs.

        But now we have Digi-Key. [digikey.com] Parts ordering is better than ever. Did you ever order from Allied Radio? It took weeks, and about 5-10% of the parts would be out of stock. Hamilton/Avnet wouldn't even take orders from individuals. Don't complain.

        There's so much more information available on line. Online PCB design and fab works very well and isn't that expensive. Free CAD tools are available. Even SPICE simula

  • Wait (Score:4, Funny)

    by arizwebfoot (1228544) * on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:11PM (#27941045)
    I'll wait until they come up with replicators, then I'll worry.

    On the other hand, were they to come up with a full sized Number 6, I might have to run right out and get one.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Gat0r30y (957941)
      My sig is relevant!
      • I doubt it. I would expect that iPhone use would increase dramatically. Videos, apps, and all sorts of unpredictable phone and networky stuff will ensue.
    • by steelfood (895457)

      I'm not sure why you'd want to own a heavy metal percussionist, but to each his or her own, I guess.

  • by catmistake (814204)

    Sure, the Japanese robots are less expensive, get better milage, but they use cheaper parts, break down more, and repairs are expensive because American mechanics' hands aren't small enough. Japanese robots have no style, no luxury models. I'll take a robot, but make mine American... might cost more upfront, might get crappy miliage, but at least you can't blame me for handing my country over to a bunch of small fisted binars!

  • This headline is so obvious it just became self-aware.
  • Waiting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Malenx (1453851)

    I'll be more excited when we finally come up with a good long lasting power supply and better software for running them.

    Those two things are holding most of our robotics back.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      In my humble opinion of enthusiastic open source developer, a cheap robotic body that anyone can use is a prerequisite to the apparition of good softwares.

      Power supplies are sufficient for research purposes. Mass production will make them cheaper, they already have a good long lasting power supply...
  • I got one of those japanese droids last week. All it did was keep saying "chii", piece of trash...
  • It also helps to be a nerd with no social skills who dreams of someday building himself a hot sexbot, but hey, who am I to judge? What a waste, spending all this time and money on robotics when they could be home in their mom's basement working on teledildonics instead!
  • I'm probably extremely biased, but I do believe this is the best website ever to learn how to make robots:

    http://www.societyofrobots.com/ [societyofrobots.com]

Recursion is the root of computation since it trades description for time.

Working...