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Robot Kits For Adults

Robot Kits For Adults

I want a build a robot and if you are reading think you may want to build your first robot too, or maybe your second or tenth. That sounds like a pretty cool idea to me. But I want to create something serious, not a LEGO MINDSTORM kit. Stores and Internet sites offer a huge selection of programmable robot kits adults can build. I’d like the robot to do something useful. Like U. Penn’s PR2, a robot that picks up dog poop. But without the $400,000 price tag! With the exponential growth of so many technologies these days, I might be able to make one of those at an affordable price very soon. For now, I need to see what is out there, what it can do and what it costs.

What Kits Are Available?

Hexbug Larva

A Slithering Robot: Hexbug Larva

Hexbug LarvaGoogling and Binging my way across the Internet I found tons of sites that offered all sorts of kits. There are 910 robots for adults on amazon.com alone! The variety is staggering, from $10 slithering bug, to the $30,000 Baxter robot.  Baxter warrants an entire blog post of his own, but not now. The point is, between the two search engines there are millions of results for a search like that.

I’ve spent hours looking at the results and the definition of a “kit” varies considerably. A lot of the results aren’t really kits in my mind. Individual components and fully assembled robots are not really kits. If I look

The results did raise other questions, for example, what do I want to do with my robot? And What kind of robot do I want?

Why Build A Robot?

There are lots of reasons to build a robot. Like any kit, puzzle, model, or machine you build, you can get a feeling of proud accomplishment when it is done. It exercises your mind if there is some thinking involved and exorcises it of distractions if it takes enough concentration. The simplest ones are high tech toys that are fun to play with and watch in action. More complex ones can do useful things or be a projection of your self and your will. If you want to pick up a block from across the room, you can have a robot do it.

I imagine it can be a satisfying, creative hobby. You can start off simple with kits and instructions to create your robot, like an aspiring artist may start off with paint by number kits. Eventually I expect most people will want to move beyond duplicating the work of others. That’s when the real creativity can kick in when you take from an idea, though design and assembly to the finished product. Something no one has ever built before.

What Kind Of Robot To Build?

Robot Being Assemled

A Work In Progress

Once you’ve decided you want to build a robot, you need to decide what kind of robot you will build. There are lots of different things that are called robots, but I am going to restrict my project to building something mechanical with software controlling it.  Not a something entirely software based like a robot like a Forex trading robot that is supposed to make money while you sleep. I might have to investigate that for a different post and see if it is too good to be true.

Anyway, I see two classifications for robots that I’d want to build. A remote control robot kit would leave me in charge of what the robot does. It would project my presence beyond my normal reach, on land, water and in the air. That DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter and GoPro I mentioned in a previous post looks like a ton of fun. But I want to build something more autonomous, like the classic view of a robot. One that thinks for itself and has behaviors influenced by its environment and controlled by its programming.

So I am going to look at programmable robot kits. There are many to choose from and I’ll put the results of my search and decision into anohter

Mark Crosby

6 Comments

  1. I imagine one way a robot can come in handy is by doing a simple chore that a handicapped or disabled person (say, confined in a wheelchair) can’t perform (like fetching or picking up a newspaper). Of course, someone with an interest in robots will have to build one for the person. Will have to check the internet to see what kind of robots people have built at home. Thanks for sharing information.

    • Hi Tina,
      Thanks for visiting. Boston Dynamics has some cool, four legged robots that are being developed for the US Marines to haul equipment like mules over rough terrain. I imagine at some point that technology will make it into the consumer market. For example a personal mule-bot could walk to the grocery store with you can carry the groceries back home.
      There are some existing humanoid form robots that can walk around a home and pick things up. The affordable ones are too short to reach counter tops, but it could hand something up to to someone who can only reach part way down.

  2. Hello, Mark

    After reading your post on Robot kits for adults, I now want to build my own Robot 🙂 I have always had an interest in bots, but never really had an idea what kind to have ago at building.

    If I had the money, the know-how and the opportunity, I would defintely build an awesome Robot like the one from the movie, Bicentennial Man.

    Neil

    • Hi Neil,
      Thanks for stopping by. While I’d love to build a completely autonomous, life sized, humanoid robot like the Bicentennial Man, I don’t seeit happening any time soon.
      I am talking to an old friend of mine and I think we’ll be building something over the next few months. I’ll post progress reports as we develop it. I want to build something to clean up my back yard after the dog does her business. I think there could be a good market for that, don’t you?
      Mark

  3. Hi Mark, Love your website! It would be fun to have a robot to clean house. My luck the one I would build would probably use me to clean the house. There are lots of folks interested in this kind of thing. If I hear of any, I will sure send them your way. You have a great thing going here. I would think the military, in the future, will use even more robots. Keep up the good work and wish you lots of success! God bless you!

    • Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to visit my site. I’m sure we could find a well behaved robot to clean the house for you. I saw an article on a robot chef that can cook 15,000 recipes, if I remember the number correctly. The thing is, you need to pay for the recipes too! That robot is probably worthy of a blog post of its own!

      Mark

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