Wireless Upgrade for a Heathkit HERO 1 Robot

F3DDY

For those of you that don’t know, the Heathkit HERO (Heathkit Educational Robot) was a ‘bot built in the early 1980s. [Rick] wasn’t satisfied with his model ETW-18’s programming interface, so decided to upgrade it to be able to run Python using a hacked wireless router. We’d agree that things have advanced since then, since this little guy was originally programmed in machine code using an onboard keypad.  As [Rick] points out, it’s “exactly as awful” as it sounds!

To begin restoring and upgrading his robot, a kit was obtained from [hero-1] to allow for a serial programming interface. Although an improvement, the desire was to be able to program this robot using Python, and to not have to have a cable running across the floor all the time. A router with a serial port was obtained from a thrift store, then hacked using [OpenWrt]. After fitting the components into the robot, [FR3DDY] was born, “A ~30 year old robot, accessible through wifi, capable of running Python.”

Be sure to check out his site, which has some videos we weren’t able to embed. He’s also included some Python code that he used to program it. If this has made you curious about the Python language, why not check out this recent post about learning it the hard way?

Comments

  1. Timbo says:

    Where did you dig up Mr Wizard’s droid??

  2. Electrosmith says:

    What, is there something wrong with programming using a hex keypad and looooove?

    True story, my dad was part of the team that made the hero 1, and that little fucker was what taught me to walk bakwards. Bumped my head against a table when it came in and started talking to me. And also I had a T-shirt with hero on it that I bulged out of until my sophmore year in high school

  3. bootdsc says:

    Now that is a childhood toy i wish i had kept.

  4. justice099 says:

    In my endless list of unfinished projects is my Hero Jr. that I need to modernize. Kinda forced to. He is missing some of the PCBs. I do have the complete service manual though and several upgrade options.

    I do wish I had the Hero 1 instead. Much cooler.

  5. Willaim says:

    i actually kinda enjoyed putting in hex commands via the pad

  6. Galane says:

    I’d like to see a modernized version of Androbots B.O.B.

    With current solid state gyro and accelerometer technology the constant wobble back and forth could be eliminated via precision control of the wheel motors.

    Stability was provided by using two steeply angled wheels and mounting the batteries really low. The designer wanted an even steeper wheel angle and lower battery position, which would have almost eliminated the wobble but he was overruled by other people more concerned with how wide the robot would have to be.

    Another issue with the design is it never had any provision for real arms, just some supports and a few different vacuum formed ABS trays that snapped onto the sides of the body.

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