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Robotis Bioloid “Edutainment” Robot Kits

Robotis  Bioloid”Edutainment” Robot Kits VIDEOS ARE AVAILABLE IN WINDOWSxxMEDIA VIDEO FORMAT, 1500KBPSRobotis Bioloid Puppy Video (19.2MB)Robotis Bioloid Walking Droid

Video (23MB)

ROBOT Magazine recently took a close look at two Robotis Bioloid educational / hobby kits.  These were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show and created quite a stir owing to their versatility—and projected U.S. price points, which may be the most competitive yet in the expanding “Robo-One” humanoid category. The Bioloid main kit enables you to create far more than just humanoids, though: dogs, dinosaurs, excavators, crabs, Johnny5-like house bots, spiders, snakes, you name it.

                      by Tom Atwood    
The kits described here are not approved production models for the U.S. market—these may be the same or vary from the packages that will ultimately be available in the U.S.; word on the street is that a U.S. distributor will be selected soon.

The Bioloid bipedal “Beginner Kit” includes a CD with software and has four degrees of freedom. It can walk around and avoid objects using its optical sensors. It appears to be highly upgradable.
The “Comprehensive Kit” contains a CD and software, and includes 20 digital servos. It can be made into many different robot types and, again, sensor technology is built into the kit. We put the Bioloid dog robot through its paces and were struck by its performance. Note the optical sensors on its nose. It also hears. Robotis literature indicates that the Bioloid “Expert Kit” includes a C development environment, wireless communication with a PC, wireless camera and “image recognition library support.” For more detail, check out
Ton the left, the Bioloid dog is standing on its head, part of a programmed demo sequence. Note the clean cabling with daisy-chained wiring from servo to servo.Bioloid AX-12 “Dynamixel” servos have feedback sensors, gear reduction and network functions in one unit. Digital packet communication with each servo via daisy-chain wiring is possible because each servo has its own serial ID. They can rotate continuously in either direction or operate like typical servos, and you can control torque, location and speed. Servo feedback includes monitoring of internal changes in temperature and voltage.
Note the number of mounting ears or lugs on the servo case that are used to attach servos to skeletal brackets. These permit a wider variety of positioning configurations than when using mounting bolts that serve double duty to hold the servo case together. Input and output ports for daisy-chain wiring are clearly visible
CONCLUSIONThe Robotis Bioloid is an impressive piece of robotics technology by any measure and we are sure it will inspire many hobbyists and students alike. The AX-12 Sensor Module, left, is actually a servo with networked sensors, including three-directional distance detection (IR), three-directional light detection and discriminating sound detection.  The CM-5 controller driver for the Dynamixel servo has a compartment that holds a 9.6V 2500mAh rechargeable NiMH battery. The controller offers 128 Kilobytes of Flash memory, six control buttons and it can control servos, IR/sound/remote controller/buzzer modules, an LCD module and it has a fuse for over-current protection. Operational times of one to two hours are reported, depending on the size of the robot and number of servos used. The ZIG-100 wireless module (not shown) will communicate with the CM-5 at 9,600-115,200 bps.
Robotis is experienced in educational markets and it shows. Check out the website to see some of its accomplishments. Robotis has a slogan on its home page: “By dreaming the era of one robot per person.” We think this is an enlightened view and look forward to reviewing Bioloid kits when they become available in the U.S.