Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mindstorms EV3 is Go!

I have posted on Lego robot creations before. Well those were made with NXT 1 and 2. Now the new version is out in time for the 2013 holidays. NXT stood for "next" while EV3 stands for "evolution". And the EV3 does have several significant changes. In terms of looks, the EV3 is a little more geometric than NXT and a whole lot scarier! That Mohawk is intimidating!!! :-]

The EV3 has some new sensors. The old ultra-sonic sensor, which was known to be inaccurate (and I can testify that's true), has been replaced by an infrared sensor, which is promised to be more accurate and can also function as a remote receiver. Also there's a remote that you can program that sends signals to the infrared sensor/receiver. The color sensor hasn't changed, except for getting the updated look I described above. The number of touch sensors has been reduced to one, but I think it's a fair trade off for all the other improvements. Also one of the classic motors has been exchanged for a forward facing medium motor. There is a pretty obvious similarity between this new motor and the "power functions motor" that Lego sold with the original Technic sets. This new motor is very helpful for motorizing smaller attachments, where doing so with the bigger motors can be very awkward. The new intelligent brick has a higher resolution screen and a much better processor allowing for faster and more complex operations to be carried out. They've also changed the programming language/interface to make it even more visual!

Overall, the EV3 is pretty is pretty cool, but if you already have an NXT 2.0, I have to say don't bother. Really the only changes I find very important are the new motor, infrared sensor, and the higher power brick. And it costs $350 when you can get a used 2.0 for a lot less -- you're getting a used NXT for more than $300 you are getting ripped off by someone who wants an EV3 instead. If you have an NXT, you also might consider just buying the new motor and IR sensor. Here's a link to the official Lego Mindstorms page.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


"Phone face!" That may sound mean, but not to little Smartpet. To complete this robot dog from Bandai, you download the robot's app onto your iPhone, which you then snap into place. By using the Facetime camera, Smartpet can do tricks in response to your movements and gestures. It can also recognize voice commands, act as an alarm clock, and has over 100 facial expressions.  Originally posted on April 4, 2012.

Lego Segway

This awesome robot can stay upright like a Segway, but without using any gyroscopes. The secret to this design is a light sensor on the front that faces the floor. The robot detects when its distance to the ground increases or decreases and the wheels rotate to get it back to the right height. This is happening constantly while the robot is running. If you start it balanced, it stays balanced. If you start it off leaning forward or backwards it will stay at that angle and end up rolling forward or backward, in a controlled fall. Pretty clever!  
Originally posted on March 17, 2012. 

Lego Robot Makes Mickey Mouse Pancakes

This awesome robot can make a perfect pancake every time. One of the motors drives an air compressor that "pushes" the batter out of the ketchup bottles. The other two motors move the bridge to the correct position for the batter to come out. Here is the video: 
Originally posted on March 6, 2012. 


Robosapien is a remote control walking robot that can walk sideways, forward and backward. It also burps, can be programmed and moves it arms. It can also pick things up and then throw them (badly). There are three versions. I have the 1st, and it has always been fun to play with. What's really fun is to have two of them and have them do their demo dance in unison. My Robosapien is shiny chrome; others are white, and the newest version is red. Check out this cool video:

Originally posted on February 5, 2012. 


Tribot is another robot made by WowWee. Its base has 3 wheels arranged in a circle, and another set of wheels within each wheel; this makes it a very agile robot. It is remote controlled and can move forward, backward, sideways and even diagonally. It can be programmed, will tell jokes (constantly), and can also go off on its own detecting obstacles along the way. It can spin very quickly and is a neat toy. Here’s a link to the WowWee website:  
Originally posted on February 5, 2012. 

Aibo the Robot Dog

Aibo is a robot dog made by Sony. It can learn the name you give it and will run around with its little ball and play. It gets annoyed and lonely if you ignore it. It also can be happy, sad, and surprised. You can teach it new tricks with upgraded software and Memory Sticks. The downfall of such an awesome and high-tech toy is it costs about $1000 -- not something your allowance will likely buy you. Here’s a video of Aibo in action:

Originally posted on February 5, 2012. 

Robot Fish Save The Day

Engineers and inventors have always used ideas from nature, taking things from animals to make stuff for humans, so these fish are returning the favor. These little robotic fish help lead schools of real fish away from chemical/oil spills and turbines. At a glance, the small robots aren’t very convincing, but what the inventor says is so convincing to the live fish, is the robots' ability to swim so much like the real thing. This link has the full write-up:
Originally posted on February 4, 2012. 

110 FirstLook

The 110 FirstLook is a small throwable robot great for clearing buildings and reconnaissance in hostile areas. This little robot is absolutely rugged; it can withstand a 15 foot fall onto concrete and will survive in 3 feet of water. It can tackle an obstacle 8 inches tall and climb stairs. It is 10 inches long, 9 inches wide and 4 inches tall, and only weighs 5 pounds. It is very small, light and portable. Here’s a link to iRobot and a video:

Originally posted on February 4, 2012. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

510 Packbot

The 510 Packbot is yet another military robot from iRobot. It can locate traces of explosive objects, identify explosives, and disarm bombs. It can break into cars and operate in crime scenes, helping police as well as the armed forces. Traveling at 5.8 miles per hour, it is fast and is easily deployed and operated with a controller like one for a video-game. The Packbot can be equipped with an arm, a laser and a bright light. The Packbot is a great multi-purpose robot. Over 3,500 are already in use by military and civil defenses across the globe. Watch this neat video:  
Originally posted on February 4, 2012. 

210 Negotiator

The 210 Negotiator is a small simple robot that goes inside buildings ahead of the police to give them a safe look and provide situational awareness. It is used by first responders to keep the public safe. The 210 Negotiator is 25 inches long, 21 inches wide (with flippers) and 7.6 inches tall without a payload. It is a little slower than some robots, going only 3.1 miles per hour, but it's maneuverable and easily climbs stairs. Watch the Negotiator in action:  
Originally posted on February 4, 2012. 

310 SUGV

The 310 SUGV (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) is portable, weighing 29 pounds without payloads. It will fit into a standard MOLLE pack. It is compact, measuring only 17.2 inches wide (with flippers) and 30 inches long (when flippers are extended). It can travel at speeds up to 6.2 miles per hour and climb 8 inch stairs. Because the 310 SUGV is controlled with a familiar game-style remote, soldiers will not have to train long to learn to control it. The 310 SUGV can operate 3280 feet (1000 meters) away from the controller. 
Originally posted on February 4, 2012. 

710 Warrior

The 710 Warrior is a large robot capable of many tasks. Its arm can lift up to 220 pounds. It can be extremely precise and pick up a bomb or other explosive without triggering the explosion. It can climb stairs, cross small gaps and pick up objects out of the ground if they aren’t buried entirely. It is controlled from a computer and can perform in hostile areas. Here are a couple of sweet videos.

Originally posted on February 2, 2012.

Bionic Handling Assistant Mimics Elephant Trunk

This marvel of engineering is absolutely awesome. These videos will give you a visual of how the bionic handling assistant really works. Festo mimicked an elephant trunk very well. It can extend its length, grip small objects, and bend in other directions by adding or taking away air from the different segments. Watch this sweet video!

Originally posted on January 28, 2012.

Robot Lawn Mower to the Rescue

This cool robot by Husqvarna quietly mows every area of the lawn in every sort of weather. With wire in the ground around the perimeter of the lawn, the Automower will use its computer brain to figure where to mow and where it already has. There are three models; the latest is the Automower Solar Hybrid. As you may have guessed, it uses solar energy to charge its battery when it's sunny, and plugs itself into the wall to get more power. Because it is electric, there are no fumes or smelly emissions. The technology for the blade is entirely different from other lawnmowers. It has a disk with 3 razor blades sticking out from it far from the edge of the mower. Here is a link to the company’s website:
Originally posted on January 28, 2012. 

Roomba Takes to the Carpets

The Roomba is a disk-shaped vacuuming robot made by iRobot. The latest version uses a touch screen and is called the Roomba 780. Other versions include the original, 530, and 700. The wall-sensing technology is impressive, as is the cliff-sensing technology that stops the robot from falling down stairs and off ledges. "It's time to let the robots do the dirty work." Here’s a video.

Originally posted on January 28, 2012. 

Scooba Conquers the Bathroom Floor

The Scooba like the Roomba is a cleaning robot made by iRobot. Unlike the Roomba, the Scooba is a floor scrubbing robot that works on sealed hardwood floor, linoleum, and tile. The most recent model is the Scooba 230. It’s cylindrical like the Roomba, but it's a lot taller and 6½ inches wide. Here’s the Scooba in action:
Originally posted on January 28, 2012.

Petman Prototype

This amazing humanoid walks so much like humans, it’s really astounding. Boston Dynamics builds robots that are strong and heavy-duty enough to help the nation’s armed forces on the battlefield. But later versions are planned to be put to use in the dangerous chemical handling industry having less humans at risk.  It took 2½ years to create this engineering marvel. This is pretty awesome!
Originally posted on January 28, 2012. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Verro 500

The Verro 500 is a pool cleaning robot manufactured by iRobot Corp. An extension cord, a big battery, and a pressed on/off button is all it takes to have your pool clean with the Verro 500. As it drives around on treads at the bottom of your pool, the small pump takes in any small debris. Such as leaves, dirt, hair, thread, and even small acorns. Here's the video: 
Originally posted on January 21, 2012.

Looj 155

The Looj 155 isn’t usually what comes to mind when you think of robots. The Looj is a small tracked vehicle with a motor on the front that turns a shaft with plastic flaps and small brushes. You set the robot in the gutter after clearing a small space for it, then detach handle, which is the remote control, and start the robot. The shaft rotates quickly and the flaps and brushes throw the leaves out of the gutter. Using a garden hose you can rinse any muck off the Looj. 

Originally posted on January 21, 2012.

Air Penguin

Festo’s AirPenguin is a silver, autonomous, flying … PENGUIN. And we thought penguins couldn’t fly! These neat robots will fly around and explore the air space they are given. Three of them can explore the same area at a time and they will avoid bumping in to each other. Check them out. 
Here's a link to an AirPenguinPDF from the company website if you want to know more. 
Originally posted January 20, 2012.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Asimo stands for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility. The prototype was revealed in 1996 after many years of research and experimentation by Honda. Asimo is a 130 cm (4 feet 3 in.) tall, white android, weighing in at 54 kg (119 pounds). The robot is capable of climbing stairs on two legs and running straight. Newer versions can run in circles and recognize people as well as dance.
Originally posted on January 16, 2012.

Cool Robots for Kids Becomes KoolRobots

After a year and a half at Google Sites, I’ve decided to move this blog to Blogger. Because robots appeal to more than just kids I have renamed this blog KoolRobots. I will be transferring many of my old posts here and adding new ones regularly. Welcome!


(Rust In Peace)