RoadTest: Rapiro - Programmable DIY Robot Kit
Evaluation Type: Independent Products
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?:
What were the biggest problems encountered?: I couldn't find a way to use any of the external power supplies I had at hand, and when you use AA NiMh batteries you *really* need to have fully charged ones, otherwise the robot will just not work or, worse, will move erratically at the risk of damaging the robot.
So, i must say that this Rapiro robot is actually quite fun! The fact that it comes as a kit makes it actually even more fun.
It took me around two hours to assemble the whole thing. It went very smoothly but when I turned my Rapiro on for the first time, I thought it was dying on me. You need to be *VERY* cautious with the batteries you put in there. That guy needs loads of current, and if you're not using fully charged AA 2400mAh batteries, the servos will move in awkward and rather impossible positions when you turn you robot on, at the risk of damaging some parts. I eventually figured that out, and was able to properly initialize the robot.
First thing you need to do is flash the sample app on the Arduino-like board. Good thing is that it also allows you to fine tune the initial angle of the servos.
I am sure the micro-protocol that is used in the sample app could be improved to include more complex commands, but given that the Arduino sketch seems to eat quite a lot of the available RAM already with global variables, I didn't want to play too much with the already quite nice set of commands (wave hands, walk, etc.)
Since element14 was kind enough to also provide me with a Raspberry Pi, I soon jumped to the fun part: trying to hook the Rapiro to the internets to turn it into an Internet of Things device that I could control from anywhere in the world. I am writing a blog post on that topic that I will publish later this week, and I also hope to show this demo during From Arduinos to Raspberry Pis, IoT-ize Your Embedded Projects with Open IoT software! next week! Please register if you haven't already!