Let's face it–until they're cooking us breakfast and doing our laundry, the most fun you can have with store-bought robots is the fun you make yourself. Sure, robots like WowWee's Roboraptor (and its companions, Robopet and Robosapien) are surprisingly capable for $60-to-$200 toys, with wide ranges of motion, touch sensors and powerful software. But it's those same out-of-the-box skills that make the 'bots such prime fodder for hackers. Within weeks of the Robosapien's introduction in February 2004, tinkerers flooded the Web with new tricks: programmed dance routines, crazy voices, infrared vision. Some companies threaten legal action against such amateur upgrades ([cough] Sony [cough]), but not WowWee. Its designer, Mark Tilden, intentionally gave his 'bots tinkerer-friendly features such as easy accessibility (each comes apart with a single Philips screwdriver), a painstakingly labeled circuit board so you can see exactly what each bit does, and a cavernous crust
of exoplastic that can accommodate additions like an extra micro-processor brain, an MP3 player or a butane flamethrower. Say, there´s an idea...
How it Works
Easy | | | | |
- Flame On:
Trigger the internal butane fuel tank by tugging the wire inside the Robozilla´s right arm socket. Snap a spark with the piezoelectric mechanism hanging around its neck.
- Rock Out:
Start the MP3 player embedded in the Robozilla´s tail to hear-what else-â€Godzilla,â€ by Blue yster Cult.
- Click here to learn how to make your own fire-breathing, music-playing Robozilla. For more Robo tricks, pick up Prochnow´s book The Official Robosapien Hacker´s Guide (O´Reilly; 2007).