by David Geer
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Penbo For Girls, Prime- 8 For Boys
Walking Wonders Waddle, Roll, and Interact
Penbo is an intuitive emotive penguin robot — complete
with baby — for girls. Prime- 8 is a macho, aggressive
gorilla robot for boys. Together, they represent hours
of playtime for kids of all ages.
Bossa Nova Robotics is the eventual result of a $20,000 DARPA project completed at Carnegie
Mellon University. The immediate offspring of the
project was a six legged robot named Rhex that
walked on six rolling legs, each attached to a
wheel. The legs hit the ground at alternating
points to produce forward locomotion.
Today, two toy robots run on two such legs.
Penbo the toy penguin walks by waddling. Prime- 8
rolls on its arms.
A total of eight sensors and three motors
educate and actuate Prime- 8 the gorilla robot.
Motors actuate the legs up and down and
make the robot run on its legs. “The legs
extend or retract to steer the robot,”
explains Sarjoun Skaff of Bossa Nova.
Sensors include two IR receivers, one
emitter, and sound and touch sensors. The
microphone together with the infrared
enables touch detection. “The infrared
knows when your hand is close to the
robot and the microphone senses contact,”
Skaff says. The microphone enables the
robot to hear and respond to the user’s
Prime- 8 senses objects and motion. If
the robot is not moving but detects that its
infrared sensor has been triggered, then it
knows that something else is moving. If the
infrared detects an object while the robot is
moving, it knows that there is an object there and
it moves to avoid it.
Prime- 8 from Bossa Nova Robotics is a gorilla
robot that walks by rolling on its arms. It’s
technically made for kids eight to 12 years old.
10 SERVO 04.2010