A little over two weeks ago we broke the news about Jin Sato’s cute new, low-cost, educational robot propelled by toothbrush heads. We were lucky enough to get a prerelease briefing from the Robot Master and now that the product has been officially released we can talk about some of the details.
The initial configuration is the “Ladybug JX-TTM” pictured above. Of course anyone with a little graphic design skill, a color printer, and some scissors could certainly change the ‘ladybug’ to any other character, insect, or even monster you have a personal afinity to.
The new robot kit doesn’t require the use of a PC. It comes with 16 predefined programs, and can be reprogrammed using marks on a paper strip that is then optically scanned by the robot. Equipped with optical sensors the robot can trace lines, wrestle robot sumo style, play tug-of-war, even makes music box type sounds and music. Power comes from two AAA batteries supplying an operating voltage of 2.4V-3.0V.
For advanced users that want to program the robot using a higher level language like C or C++ the company is making a fully functional SDK available utilizing the AVR Studio2 WinAVR (GNU C Compiler).
The robot measures 52mm (L) by 80mm (W) by 30mm (H) and tips the scales at only 50 grams including the batteries. Movement, via the two toothbrush heads, is driven by dual cellphone/pager vibration motors. The robot also includes 4 infrared sensors, 4 LEDs for status display, and a piezo buzzer/speaker.
The onboard microcomputer is a AVR ATmega168 with 16K flash memory, 1k RAM, running at 8 MHz. In addition to the 16 preinstalled integrated programs the user can load 4 additional programs with up to 64 instructions.
The current kit price in Japan is 5,229 yen (approxiamately USD$50). No plans for an overseas/English version have been announced yet, though we suspect it’s only a matter of time.