Robots come in all shapes and sizes,
and the Bioloid from the Korean
company Robotis certainly takes
that to heart. When we first received
the Bioloid kit, we thought we would
be dealing with a robot that looked like
the one in the advertisements and on
the box itself — a bipedal servo walker.
We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the Bioloid is much more than
just a humanoid walker; it is quite
literally whatever you want it to be.
While many bipedal servo walkers use
modular design as a means for the end
of achieving an anthropomorphic form,
the Bioloid takes full advantage of the
modular design and truly invites the tinkerer to let their imagination run wild.
The specific kit that we received was
the “comprehensive” Bioloid kit, which
included the most structural pieces and
18 Dynamixel servo modules. The Bioloid
is also available in two other kits: the
beginner and intermediate. We think
Robotis deserves a standing ovation for
this innovative marketing strategy,
because we really feel it provides a viable
educational platform — the Bioloid is,
after all, an educational robot kit.
Apparently there is also an Expert kit that
includes a canned curriculum, but we
think the distinctions of the Beginner,
Intermediate, and Comprehensive kits
create an effective naturally progressive
THE BIOLOID KIT.
OOOOOOH, THE INSIDE!
curriculum that will teach any roboticist
about the intricacies of modular robotics.
The Beginner Bioloid kit comes with
just the basics — the CM- 5 (the main
brain for the robot), some structural
bits, four Dynamixel servo modules, and
one Dynamixel sensor module. Many of
the robots detailed in the instruction
manual that can be built with the beginner kit are indeed rudimentary, the simplest being a “crossing gate” that activates one servo module with the touch
of a button. But don’t think that the
beginner kit is by any means boring — it
is, in fact, the kit with the greatest
variety of robots detailed by step-by-step
instructions in the manual. Other
possible robots include a crocodile
mouth and an interactive duck, and
every different design teaches the user
about a new aspect of construction or
programming, like how to utilize the
expansion PCB and the use of for loops.
The intermediate kit provides some
more complicated designs that use up
to eight Dynamixel modules, including
a simple spider and a “battle droid.”
The intermediate designs are generally
more interactive, and they usually make
use of a sensor module that is part of
the Bioloid kit. We think that the
inclusion of a sensor module is a must
10 SERVO 01.2007