I’ve been saying for years that manufacturers ought to follow the lead of the Kyosho Manoi series, which, thanks to its plastic exterior, has a lot more personality than the bare-bone robot kits you see on the market. Dongbu Robot has wisely opted to offer the kit both with an exoskeleton (HOVIS Eco) and without (HOVIS Lite) while marketing their new line of Herculex servo motors.
The HOVIS Eco stands 41.8 cm (16.4 inches) tall and weighs 1.8 kg (3.9 lbs). It comes with a simple distance sensor in its chest (gyro is optional), and is powered by a 7.4V 3,000mA Li-Po battery. The kit comes with a software bundle for programming the robot, which will suit beginners to experts. You can also upgrade its functionality with optional sensors, higher torque servos, an “emoticon” head unit (color-changing LEDs), and it is interchangeable with parts from the HOVIS App and Genie kits.
Video (HOVIS Eco):
They probably could have done a better promotional video, but things are still early. Hopefully once hobbyists get their hands on it they’ll be able to squeeze more performance out of it. As Technabob pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the HOVIS Lite is already available from RoadNarrows Robotics ($900) and Robot Shop ($990), which is $260 dollars more than the HOVIS Lite ($730 USD, video below). That isn’t too shabby for a kit that comes with 20 servos (TTL, 12 kg/cm torque, 320° operating angle), and you can always upgrade it in the future.
A video of the HOVIS Genie (which moves on wheels rather than legs) follows. In an earlier article, we got some of the details incorrect. What appears to be a phone docked inside its chest is actually a mobile internet device (MID) with similar features. You can control the robot using your smartphone if you want to (like a remote), but you don’t need a smartphone to take advantage of its apps.
It has a 3.5 inch (480 x 320) capacitive touch screen, a 1 GHz processor (allowing for speech recognition and other apps), a camera, 256MB internal memory (4GB micro SD slot), and is WI-FI enabled. Children can enjoy edutainment content (songs and stories), play MP3s, take photos and videos, record voice memos, etc.. Various other applications including weather reports, daily alarms, voice messaging, video surveillance, and the like are also advertised.
Video (HOVIS Genie):
Video (HOVIS Lite):