On the latest episode of Systm, they talk to [David Calkins], founder of the RoboGames competition, about humanoid robotics. The robots featured in the episode are Hitec’s ROBONOVA-I. The ROBONOVA is about a foot high and has 16 servos with support for up to 24, all connected to an Atmel controller. The episode is quite long: At around 15 minutes, they demonstrate the programming enviroment. You can program it traditionally or pose the bot to work out the motions. At 30 minutes, [David] mentions that next year’s competition will allow airsoft weapons to be attached, but bots have to be controlled from a first person perspective. If you’re interested in one of these kits, they have a ROBONOVA special of $900 or as low as $500 for educational institutions (that’s us, right?). Now is the perfect time to get one since you’ll have nearly a full year to prepare for RoboGames.

Related: You’ll hear builder [Matt Bauer]‘s name mentioned several times.

[via BotJunkie]


  1. brokenlcd says:

    “next year’s competition will allow airsoft weapons to be attached”

    The robot revolution is just a stone’s throw away…

  2. michaelb says:

    Yeah, all we need now is to build some rampant AI’s and we should be all set!
    (Theoretically, if robots are built following the Three Laws of Robotics, shouldn’t we all be safe from a “Robot Invasion?” (Or in fact safer than if we didn’t have robots?))

  3. Wow, those two are great together.

    On the subject of having to control the mechs first person, do you think pointing the camera straight up at a mirrored hemisphere would be grounds for disqualification?

  4. Trekna says:


    Really… After reading a ton of Asimov’s books and the ones based upon his, I’d be scared shitless.

  5. Ben says:

    This is VERY interesting. Well put together and interesting to listen to these guys insult each other.

  6. max says:

    Oh man this brings me back to the screen saver days…
    any of you remember that show with leo and pat.
    pat throwing hardrives across the set and leo got his panties all up in a bunch. I really need to dig up my leo autograph

  7. michaelb says:

    aww come on, robots aren’t evil– It’s people who make them that way.
    I wouldn’t mind messing around with one of these things though…

  8. Nick says:

    Why does the robot dude have to be so condescending? He said “Basically” about a million times and suggested the host was a “gorilla who rode the short bus”. I’m glad he broke it down for “the mere mortals”.

    a little modesty and humility goes a long way…

  9. georg says:

    I can’t find the 500$ highschool offer.
    Any help?

  10. Baggins says:

    What were they using to make the fireballs after the credits?

  11. Dax says:

    @#10: Coffeemate

    And this is about the coolest thing I have ever seen. I fricking *WANT* one. Any way to get into one of these things for less than $900? I’m guessing not really as I know that digital servos go for about $90 ea. retail… :(

  12. D says:

    @9 Right there, above the order buttons.
    “High school can get a RoboNova for $500, and Universities for $570!”

  13. fervus says:

    So does a sense of humor.

    PS. These robots are awesome! I wonder if anyone’s made a voice controlled version yet? It would be even cooler if it talked back to you.

  14. TechBender says:

    I am worried about how amusing I find this.

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