Dedicated robot hackers are never content to leave well enough alone. They feel compelled to dissect, hack, and mod any semi-defenseless piece of electronics that will hold still long enough for them to crack it open. For them, that's when the real fun begins.
Grandlarseny37, over on the Robocommunity forums, certainly feels that way. They just posted Part 1 of a multi-part Dissection of the WowWee Alive Lion Cub. So far, the helpless cub has been skinned, had its tail pulled, and was subjected to other indignities. Part 2 is promised to be 'Coming Soon'...
Many thanks to Robert for alerting us.
When we received Robert Oschler's review of the new Femisapien robot (see video below) from WowWee there was an immediate, and overwhelming sense of flashback to the 1960's, but we couldn't quite figure out why. Then, late last night, when we should have been sleeping, it suddenly hit us. Robert's passionate devotion to robots in general, and specifically to WowWee white plastic humanoids brought back memories of the late Frank Zappa (think Mothers of Invention). Robert's obsession was captured perfectly, more than 40 years in advance - probably before Robert was even born, by Zappa in his classic song "WOWIE ZOWIE".
Your love's a treat
You can't be beat
Wowie Zowie, baby
You're so neat
I don't even care
If you shave your legs
Wowie Zowie, baby
You're so fine
Wowie Zowie, baby
Please be mine
Up and down my spine
I don't even care
If you brush your teeth"
So, from here on out, we have dubbed Robert with the title of "Wowie Zowie", and challenge him to create an appropriate, and totally over the top, parody music video.
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Christmas has come and gone, but from the number of video clips showing up on popular video sharing sites like YouTube and Google Video, Santa's sleigh must have been totally overloaded with the popular Roboreptile robots from WowWee. A quick search on YouTube turned up numerous videos including one that featured a baby teething on the robot, another one where it scares the heck out of a cat and dog, yet another with it trying to climb on top of a floor vacuum, and lots of others.
Our favorite video of the bunch (see below), at least so far, has the robot exploring an office area, attempting to mate with a door, getting its head stuck between a door and the door jam, and then attacking a computer like there's no tomorrow.
To kick off the new RoboReporter robot news website, Robert, the site publisher, is staging a contest and the Discovery Channel's online store has put up a Chromashift Roboreptile robot that will go to the contest winner. The RoboReporter concept is very simple and straight forward. If you like Digg, then you're probably going to love this new site. Registration is free and open to all comers. Registered participants submit new robotics related news stories, which are then 'voted-on' by other readers. The more popular stories quickly find their way to the top of the pile.
According to the RoboReporter contest rules, the Chromashift Roboreptile robot will go to the member that submits the highest number of valid posts during the month of November. You do have to reside in either the US or Canada - which unfortunately leaves us out of the competition.
So, don't just sit there. Get your browser over to the RoboReporter website, read the rules, register, and then start submitting pointers to new and exciting robot developments. They don't have to be about the Roboreptile or even a Robosapien - any robot related news story will be considered. Who knows? You might be lucky enough to take home a brand new Roboreptile robot.
Australia is great place to roll out new technology. The people really seem to enjoy and appreciate the latest and greatest gadgets, they are used to paying a little more for imported technology, and they don't hesitate to give feedback about what they like and what they don't. Best of all - it's fairly remote and isolated, so if a new product unexpectedly falls flat on its face, the damage is minimal.
WowWee seems to be consistently using Australia as the test market for their latest robots. On Tuesday (October 10th), they introduced the new Robosapien RSMedia in Sydney complete with a host of well known Australian entertainment and sports personalities. It's going to be interesting to see how well the Oz market warms to the new robot, and how it impacts the introduction schedule for other countries.
Although the new Robosapien RSMedia robot designed by Mark Tilden won't hit store shelves until sometime in January, 2007, WowWee has already started to build some enthusiasm and awareness around it. Tilden has been showing it off, along with the RoboReptile, to the press in Europe, and a few days ago, the new RSMedia Official Website went live.
The website is worth a visit, especially if you're a Robosapien fan. In addition to some general overviews and features lists, it also contains the full RSMedia user manual for the robot. We spent about an hour reading through the manual, and all we can say is 'complex'. It runs around 70 pages with table after table after table of listings showing all the button combinations necessary to get the robot to do what you want. Unfortunately the manual doesn't address a lot of our open questions - it probably shouldn't - so we'll have to wait until we can test and review the robot first hand.
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