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The Official Robosapien Hacker's Guide Paperback – August 17, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0071463096 ISBN-10: 0071463097 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics; 1 edition (August 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071463097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071463096
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Includes bonus $10 coupon toward your next WowWee robotic purchase! (U.S. and Canada orders only)

"You've owned Robosapien for six months now and you're wondering three things: what's inside, how can I hack it, and can I get college credit for this thing?" -- Mark W. Tilden


The Official Robosapien Hacker's Guide is a true insider's sourcebook of over one dozen fun, inexpensive, and high-performance hacks that you can perform on the world’s best-selling robot of all time. This manual is fully endorsed by WowWee Ltd., Robosapien's manufacturer, and features an introduction by Mark W. Tilden, Robosapien's designer! You'll learn how to make Robosapien do things you never thought possible.

So if you're ready to make the award-winning Robosapien more appealing, capable, and compelling than it already is, tighten your chin strap and take a look inside. This book gives you --

  • Complete, step-by-step illustrated guidance on hacking the "brains" out of Robosapien
  • An inside-out "Crack 'n Hack" guide to Robosapien's anatomy
  • Full directions on controlling your robot with a Mac or PC
  • How to's for converting Robosapien from remote infrared (IR) to remote radio control (RC)
  • A candid interview with Mark Tilden, robot designer extraordinare
  • Enough handholding to make you think that we ought to be dating
  • Instructions on remote programming and wireless surveillance from anywhere within your house
  • One of the most complete Robosapien reference guides on Earth
  • Some fashion sense on how to make a designer's statement with a new Robosapien wardrobe
  • A backstage pass to meet the next generation of robots -- a full preview of V2, RoboRaptor, and RoboPet!


About the Author

Dave Prochnow is a frequent contributor to MacAddict, MAKE, Nuts and Volts, and SERVO Magazine, as well as the award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books including the best-selling Experiments with EPROMs. Dave also won the 2001 Maggie Award for the best how-to article in a consumer magazine. In collaboration with Mark Tilden, Dave has assembled the enormous selection of robot tips, programs, and hacks that are contained in The Official Robosapien Hacker's Guide. You can learn more about this book and other robotics/electronics projects at Dave's website,

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on September 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
With one and a half million Robosapiens sold in the Christmas season last year, this is the largest selling robot of all time. 99% of them will be played with a little, the novelty will wear off, they'll go in the closet with the rest of the old toys. But that other 1%, maybe that many, will be used as the basis for any of a number of other projects. This book shows how to take the basic Robosapien and convert, modify, add a number of alternative features and capabilities to it.

Some of these 'hacks' include, controlling Robosapien from a home computer, adding any or all of several electronic features to Robosapien, adding a different processor to Robosapien. Several of these hacks would make a very good science project for a high schooler, and would even be a pretty good introduction to abeginning class in electronics.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By WJB on December 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
The majority of "The Offical Robosapien Hacker's Guide" is the 11 chapters dedicated to 11 hacks. Some hacks require an additional investment of up to several hundred dollars, while other hacks require small circuits to be built. The author provides circuit diagrams WITHOUT explanations and details of the parts needed, but fails to provide any fundamental Electrical Engineering knowledge. EE 101 students will not have much trouble, but the typical person buying the Robosapien initially as a toy will. My two favorite parts of the book: 1) The $10 WowWee Rebate (expires 12/31/06) towards purchase of a WowWee robot. 2) The chapter dedicated to the disassembly of Robosapien where the author guides you on minimal disassembly for maximum internal exposure. While the author is highly knowledgable in electronics, he is vague and lacks the ability or patience to explain areas in details. The information and presentation of that information is no better than what I would expect to find on someones personal website who was sharing it for fun and not financial gain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicerobot on February 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
On the positive side, Prochnow's candid writing style makes this book very entertaining to read. Most of the projects (but not all) are interesting too including replacing Robosapien's feet with a tank tread based traction system, turning him into an alarm clock or using him as a virtual wall for your roomba. Some seem silly and out-of-place however like the chapter on dressing up Robosapien in paper clothes. On the negative side, the author assumes the reader already possesses a basic working knowledge of electronics and schematic diagrams and as such completion steps for many projects are overly simplistic without the hand holding that most beginners would need.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nuwud on April 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I kind of wish I hadn't gotten this one. I don't usually get buyer's remorse. This book wasn't nearly as informative or technically written as I would have preferred. There was a lot of the author's ramblings that were cute, but not necessary. The photos were in the book were not only black and white but blurry and useless. There was some useful information in there, but nothing I feel was worth the cost I paid for the book.
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Format: Paperback
Why? because I was expectin something else, but first of all, I didn't expect that you have to open/make a hole in your Robosapiens to modify it, so forget it! i will not damage my Robot.
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More About the Author

Meet Dave Prochnow

In a writing career that has spanned over 30 years, Dave Prochnow has authored 31 nonfiction books, written countless magazine articles, and, recently, began dabbling in the development of mobile OS Apps. His prolific production has earned Dave some notable recognition; like being the recipient of the 2001 Maggie Award for "Best How To Article in a Consumer Magazine." His award-winning article was based on adapting the film-based Ansel Adams Zone System to digital cameras. The international attention that Dave received from this article in digitalFOTO magazine served as a springboard to other opportunities in photography.

Feeling the need for an educational emphasis on photography as an artistic medium, Dave developed an instant photography coursework that challenged 4th - 6th grade students to "develop" images inside their "mind's eye." Based on this coursework and using salvaged Polaroid SX-70 cameras and film, Dave organized, promoted, and taught several instant photography classes at museum workshops. The resulting chorus from the students, parents, and museum staff was unanimous in its enthusiastic endorsement of using instant photography as a foundation towards better creative expression in all forms of photography...including digital formats.

Now firmly established in instant photography circles, Dave branched out into the exhibition arena. His one-man exhibition, "No Man, A World Without Being," featured prints made with extremely long shutter speeds. These lengthy exposures resulted in images that blurred the passing of cars, the movements of people, and, in general, halted the "pulse" of life that we commonly see with our eyes. The result was imagery that hallmarked the frigid, sterile landscape that we surround ourselves with, but fail to perceive--this was some really thought-provoking stuff.

In 2011, a new one-man exhibition began to take shape, "In an Instax." The title referred to the pre- and post-development manipulations that Dave conducted inside an Instax camera before the print was ejected. Once again, he had to modify a standard commercial camera to enable him to capture the resulting imagery. The final prints were exotic, surreal expressions that transcended the imagery that could be conjured by even the most talented Photoshop digital artist.

When asked about using film-based cameras while living in a digital world, Dave said, "Personally speaking, I never leave home without my Instax--preferring the instant print over digital images."

"The ability to empower the photographer so that he can transform a single Instax print into a "created" object is more valuable to me, than being able to capture 1000s of pix to a removable media card."

And his many books could empower you to do the same thing!

My Enumerative Bibliography

Commodore Peripherals: A User's Guide (COMPUTE! Publications and ABC Publishing Company, 1984)
Commodore 64 Tutor for Home and School (Scott, Foresman and Company, 1985)
EPSON, EPSON, Read All About It! (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1985)
1001 Things to Do With Your Amiga (TAB Books,1986)
1001 Things to Do With Your Commodore 128 (TAB Books, 1986)
101 Projects, Plans, and Ideas for the High-Tech Household (TAB Books, 1986)
1001 Things to Do With Your Apple IIgs (TAB Books, 1987)
Chip Talk: Projects in Speech Synthesis (TAB Books, 1987)
Flight Simulator and Flight Simulator II: 82 Challenging New Adventures (TAB Books, 1987)
The GEM Operating System Handbook (TAB Books, 1987)
JET: 82 Challenging New Adventures (TAB Books, 1987)
101 Experiments for the Young Scientist (TAB Books, 1988) [Withdrawn due to the inclusion of some "dangerous" experiments and some silly things called carcinogens]
50 Powerful Printed Circuit Board Projects (TAB Books,1988)
Experiments in CMOS Technology (TAB Books, 1988)
Experiments in Gallium Arsenide Technology (TAB Books, 1988)
Experiments with EPROMs (TAB Books, 1988)
GUNSHIP: 82 Challenging New Adventures (TAB Books, 1988)
1001 Things to Do With Your IBM PS/2 (Windcrest Books, 1989)
Quilts SOLD! A Guide to Heirloom and Antique Quilts (Pelican Publishing, 2006)
Superconductivity: Experimenting in a New Technology (TAB Books, 1989)
The Art of Fine Furniture Building ( Betterway Books, 1993)
How? More Experiments for the Young Scientist (TAB Books, 1993)
Why? Experiments for the Young Scientist (TAB Books, 1993)
Why? Experiments for the Young Scientist [Thai Language Edition] (TAB Books, 1993)
No Man: A World Without Being (Kindle Publishing, 2012)
YO! (Kindle Publishing, 2012)