My Roboraptor finally arrived on my doorstep Saturday afternoon, and was waiting patiently when I came home in the evening. There are a few initial photos below, and course more photos and videos to come as I start to really dig in and discover what the Roboraptor is about, and how it can be hacked.
I also want to take some time to document my ‘out of the box’ experience with Roboraptor, since I think its important enough to spend some time covering. But, for now, here are my first initial impressions:
The Roboraptor is totally awesome! I know this is going to be a real blast to play with, and to hack. And, after about three hours of playing and experimenting with it, I can easily understand why some people have written some negative reports about it. Probably one major reason why I am having such a positive and delightful experience with Roboraptor is because while I was waiting for it to show up, I read every online review and website that mentioned it, and I read through the operating manual downloaded from the Roboraptor website. That gave me pretty realistic expectations, and some familiarity with how to control it.
‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’, as the old saying goes, and Roboraptor turned out to be much more, and capable of much more than I expected from my online research. After dinner, and after unpacking, I popped a new set of batteries into the Roboraptor and his remote control, then set him down on the living room floor. In less than a minute our two dogs were chasing it, barking at it, and generally having a terrific time. A few minutes later my wife, who is always a little skeptical about the money and time I spend on robotics, came into the room to see what the commotion was all about.
Three hours later – literally – we were all still playing with Roboraptor. My wife turned off the television, and for a while I thought we would have to fight over who would get possession of the Roboraptor remote. We would have kept going if I wasn’t already committed to finishing a project for work that evening. I had to put it high up on the shelf so our dogs wouldn’t keep playing with it – and possibly chew on it’s tail. Later, just before I went to bed, I found our oldest puppy sitting our home office staring up at the Roboraptor on the shelf – wishing that it would come down and play some more.
Compared to the original Robosapien remote control, the Roboraptor control was a real pleasure to use. All the controls seemed to be in the right place, and it was very easy to get used to.
For playing with our dogs - actually harassing them – the remote control laser tracking system worked surprisingly well. It took a little while to figure out where to point it so the Roboraptor would move in the direction we wanted. At first we tried to get it to turn too sharply, but after some experimenting we were able to guide it around the living room pretty smoothly.
Things that are high on my list to explore next include the different Roboraptor modes and how he reacts to the sensors in each of the modes; putting together a better, more understandable user guide; figuring out how the internal linkages and motors fit into the overall design; and deciphering the remote control so that I can control Roboraptor from my PC.