JO-ZERO, a hobby robot kit that launched in 2009 for approximately $1250 USD, is being re-branded and they’re pulling out all the stops to market it. A new website has launched to promote an instructional DVD and weekly magazine (790 JPY per issue) beginning in February 2011 (weekly publications aren’t uncommon in Japan). The magazine will cover a variety of topics, including step-by-step guides (from novice to advanced lessons), news coverage of the latest robot developments, hobby competitions, and robots in fiction.
The robot comes equipped with 24 Futaba RS306MD servos – 4 more than JO-ZERO (and most other hobby kits), but remains the same size at 30cm (1′) tall. Futaba’s site hasn’t updated with details about the new servo, but based on those used in JO-ZERO, they are likely offer low torque but high speed. In addition, it has gripper-like hand units which allow the robot to write with a pen, throw a ball, or swing on monkey bars – I kid you not, check out the promotional video below!
A custom stand and aluminum carry case will also be available. The robot’s proprietary control software allows inexperienced users to automatically generate walking gaits – normally quite a challenge – by simply inputting the length and speed of the desired stride. The ROBO XERO has more personality than most other kits and isn’t designed to be modified, so it could help push hobby robots into the mainstream by offering a universal platform for competitions.