November 11, 2008 Is this Megatron's love-child? The MechRC is a programmable, remote controlled robot with 17 independently controllable servos (points of articulation), each capable of up to 180 degrees of movement. This provides the bot with an extremely wide range of actions – and the database of 100 pre-programmed motions and sound can be expanded by using the included software to create new manoeuvres.
The 36 x 32 x 15cm bot comes pre-assembled with a game-pad style Infrared remote control and a software package that lets you program movements in an animation-style film strip before downloading the moves to the robot. The Lithium Polymer Battery pack is good for one hour of running time and a built in speaker allows you to add a soundtrack or sound effects. If you exhaust the possibilities of the out-of-the-box unit, the modular design of the MechRC allows it to incorporate mechanical and electronic expansion kits.
The makers of the MechRC are very optimistic about the future of consumer robotics. ‘"It’s not unrealistic to suggest we’ll be seeing a robot in every home within the next decade," says Dr. Jim Wyatt, creator of the MechRC. "The kind of technology that we saw in films as children – Star Wars, Short Circuit, Transformers – is being achieved right now, but robots aren’t necessarily going to be working in the kind of ‘Jetsons’ way we originally thought. For instance, while many robots for the home have revolved around menial tasks such as hoovering, it’s much more likely that they will in future be used as companions, particularly for the elderly or very young."
The MechRC is available to pre-order from I Want One of Those for £399.00 (approx. USD$740).
A demonstration of the robot’s range of movements can be seen in the "Evolution of Dance" video below.