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Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Robopet's Free Roam Mode

Of all the WowWee toy robots, without a doubt has the most independent personality, even more than the significantly more expensive . Up until the Robopet, the personality signature of the WowWee toy robots has been that of a very clever fun robotic puppet, with a few short scripted moves. The Roboraptor and Robosapien V2 do indeed have a free roam mode like Robopet does, but you cannot alter their behavior in that mode like you can with the Robopet.

The distinctive feature of Robopet's fun and frequently quite disobedient personality is the punish and reward buttons on the remote control. In free roam mode, Robopet runs around the house and intermittently tries out different tricks it knows.

Important note: in free roam mode Robopet will do tricks that are not any of the ten tricks that are available from the remote control! In other words, if you don't let your robotic doggy run around a bit and watch him, you aren't getting your money's worth out of your new pet!

What do the punish and reward buttons really do? They change how often Robopet will do a particular trick. If you punish Robopet for doing the fart trick, he will do it less often. If you reward him for doing the howl trick, he will do it more often. If you reward him too many times for the same trick, that's the only trick he will do! If you punish him too often for too many tricks, he'll sulk and sit down in a state of confusion.

As you can see, more than the other robots, Robopet has more of a personality and is the only one with a personality you can modify!

Operational Notes:

- You must punish him soon after he does a particular trick, don't wait too long.
- If he performs a trick because you told him to with the remote control, instead of him doing the trick himself, then the "punish" and "reward" buttons will have no effect. He must do the trick himself!
- Robopet flat out doesn't listen to you sometimes!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Robopet Red Is Still Nearly Dead

My brave little red Sharper Image is still in a box with his waist motor exposed and his rear end (butt) still dissassembled. There was a nightmarish scene straight out of a movie like Blade runner when I was trying to fix on him. There he was on the table, his front legs pathetically trying to pull him forward while his good back leg flailed wildly and his bad leg just shuddered. I actually felt the irrational desire to put him out of his misery. Fortunately that involved simply shutting him off, but it was a microstudy in human emotion, watching my TV show induced emotions react to a pile of plastic, gears and motors. I couldn't even bring myself to video it!

However, I did videotape his final leap off the table, which led to him being replaced in the Voice Control interface demonstration video by his understudy, the chrome Robopet. Although costly, it was hilarious! Subscribe to this blog or check back regularly; I'll make a post when it's ready for viewing. Remember, be careful with him when he is on a table!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Voice Controlled Robopet Video Is Out!

You can now see for yourself a being controlled by voice without having to punch out complex combinations of buttons on the remote control. I have succeeded in updating Robosapien Dance Machine to support other robots and I used the Robopet for my first tests, as I mentioned in earlier posts. Unfortunately, due to several table falls my first Robopet is in traction waiting for a new right rear leg motor. (If you use him on a table build a corral around the edged or gets some pillows! You've been warned!).

It's tons more fun using your voice over the remote; especially since Robopet is a very rebellious pup and frequently chooses to ignore commands and do things you didn't ask him to do! Normally I would find that irritating but since he's supposed to be a robot dog, it makes him feel more real and alive. The Robopet Video is a 3 minute long Windows Media format file and is 6 MB in size. I'll be back soon with more videos, even some outtakes from this one, and more tips on using your Robopet in exotic and crazy ways.

(Note: The current version of Robosapien Dance Machine on SourceForge does not support the Robopet yet! I'll make an announcement in several places when that version is available for public consumption).

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Voice Controlled Robopet - part 2

Work with my and Robosapien Dance Machine continued today. I'm growing more appreciative of my robot dog every day. Unlike the the Robopet seems to queue commands. For example, the Play Dead command takes 11 seconds to complete. During this time, if you issue another command, like I am doing by voice, there's a chance he'll still execute it "when he gets around to it". Sometimes he doesn't. This unpredictability gives you the feeling of a real dog since you are never sure if he heard you and is just ignoring you, or that he heard and hasn't gotten around to doing it. A side effect of this is that during testing, I was too slow in yelling "stop" and Robopet took a dive off the table! Fortunately, at least on carpet, the falls don't bother him much. (Note: don't try this at home! The Robopet you save may be your own!). More coming soon, as I smooth things out in the scripting interface and system to make the Robopet voice control interface as smooth as possible. I'm also very eager to see how well the interface works with the .

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


First Test Of Voice Controlled Robopet Today!

Completed most of the hard work on Robosapien Dance Machine to allow support for robots other than the original Robosapien. Ran my first full test using my today! He's perfect for voice control. It is so much more fun ordering him to do tricks by simply saying "Howl", "Scratch", or "Give Me Your Paw" instead of pressing the tricks button 1 to 9 times followed by the execute button. Since he's naturally a little disobedient, it's like talking to a real dog. In addition, it's much more natural to just think of a command and then say it, rather than staring at the remote and trying to remember which button does what. Be ready, a video of my voice controlled Robopet is coming soon!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


New Robotpet In the House

I've got a brand new Sharper Image Robotpet now. It's dark red and so is the remote control. He doesn't seem to like walking on carpet very much but does fine on the kitchen floor or a table. I'll be posting a lot more about him soon.

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