Brian Roe spent nearly a decade building animatronic monsters for films such as Virus, A.I., and Scooby Doo 2. Then, almost overnight, Hollywood abandoned mechanical characters for computer renderings. Roe now works as a technology consultant, but with the surge of cheap, user-friendly microelectronics, he saw a market emerging for hobbyist robots. "It used to be that electronics and software were out of reach," Roe says. "Over the past six or eight years, it has completely switched." So Roe began developing a low-cost kit to teach anyone robotics. He calls his work-in-progress Roy the Robot.