Takara Tomy’s I-Sobot was, for a time, the world’s smallest humanoid robot in production (the record now belongs to GeStream’s BeRobot). The I-Sobot is only the latest in Takara’s long line of Omnibots dating back to the 1980s. At only 16.5 cm tall, I-Sobot’s claim to fame is no small feat: Takara Tomy have manufactured their own miniscule servo motor to bring the robot to life. It’s also one of the cheapest humanoid robots on the market, originally sold for $350 but now available for only $100. By comparison, the Desktop Robot Plen stands 22.8 cm tall and costs ten times more.
Unlike the more expensive hobby kits, I-Sobot comes pre-assembled and ready to rock with hundreds of pre-programmed actions, including skits with voice recordings and sound effects. I-Sobot can stand up on his own, balance on one foot, walk around, and more. Of course, you do sacrifice strength and speed for this ease of use (I-Sobot doesn’t compete at most events).
It comes equipped with a gyro-sensor for maintaining balance, and can store up to 240 separate actions in his 3 memory banks (80 moves each). Rechargeable AAA nickel metal hydride batteries provide 40 to 60 minutes of power (included in the box).
Originally the I-Sobot didn’t come with software for programming your own actions, but Takara Tomy have recently released a user-friendly package in Japan, and the US version can’t be far behind. The only remaining issue to be had with the I-Sobot is the battery lid on the robot (and the remote) needs to be screwed and unscrewed, which seems a bit like overkill.
Takara Tomy has discontinued production of I-Sobot, though you can still find them for sale for around $100.
Takara Tomy | Impress Robot Watch | New York Times | Robots-dreams