RoboGames champion Nick Donaldson seems to live, eat, sleep, and breathe robots. He consistently wins a raft of medals across a wide range of different categories during the annual robot gathering, and has designed all types of robots including LEGOs, multi-legged rescue bots, and even a few that might be difficult to categorize. Now, thanks to almost 10 years of hard work, dedication, and a little luck, it looks like one of Donaldson's cutest robot creations, a robot monkey, just might become the hottest selling robot toy in the US this Christmas.
From Robot Inspiration to Mass Production
Almost ten years ago, Donaldson had the inspiration for a robot monkey that would perch on his shoulder making cheeky noises and acting for all the world like a cross between a real monkey and some cartoon character. The first generation robot took about two years to perfect but was a tremendous hit every time Donaldson took it out in public. People were not only impressed, they wanted to buy one for themselves or their kids.
The primary challenge was cost. The servos used for the first robot cost about $100 - way too expensive for the US toy market. Never one to give up when faced with a tough challenge, Donaldson went back to the drawing board, did a complete redesign, and even came up with a unique cam design that was able to replicate the monkey's movements while eliminating some of the cost.
The monkey robot, named "Dave", went on sale last year for the holiday season in the UK, outsold Buzz Lightyear, and was the number 5 top-selling toy across all categories. With a lot of experience, learning, and success under his belt, Donaldson and his partners have introduced the money robot to the US market. It's already on the toy shelves at your neighborhood Toys 'R Us store.