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The Robosapien Companion: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks (Technology in Action) 2005th Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590595268
ISBN-10: 1590595262
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  • The Robosapien Companion: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks (Technology in Action)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jamie Samans has been extremely active in the Robosapien community since July 2004 (the time of Robosapien's U.S. release). His hack submission was published in an issue of Servo, which asked him to write a series of articles on advanced hacking techniques for publication.
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Product Details

  • Series: Technology in Action
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2005 edition (August 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590595262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590595268
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W Boudville HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
There have been numerous specialised books on robotics, going back decades. Almost always from a research perspective, and dealing with once-off custom designs. Yet in the last 2 years, a toy robot, called Robosapien, has proved wonderfully popular in the mass market. Samans shows why Robosapien can be considered more than a toy. Perhaps even a tool for advancing robotics.

The book blends two themes. The predominant one is how to modify your Robosapien. Samans explains the deliberately extensible nature, which appeals to many tinkerers. It is rare, indeed, for a mere toy to be so open. Typically, a toymaker locks down the toy, and might even sue any hacker with the gumption to publicly tweak the toy. But here, Robosapien's maker [WowWee] takes the completely opposite tack. The book documents some of the numerous ways to indulge your tinkering. Notably including using your personal computer as a controller.

But the book also explores another theme. It uses Robosapien as a case study of a different approach to robotics. Designed around BEAM - biology, [analog] electronics, aesthetics and mechanics. The idea is to seek inspiration from biological evolution, since the best ideas may well have been tried out and found successful in nature. Then, these are reimplemented in mechanical form, preferably using analog electronics to control the functions. Instead of having a master CPU that has code to handle every possible contingency, which is impossible.

The first theme turns Robosapien into a seriously cool hacker's dream. The second theme turns the book into somewhat of a textbook, that may well be more persuasive than many robotics tomes.
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Format: Paperback
I bought a RoboSapien about 8 months ago. I tell people that I got it for my kids, but I just couldn't resist it - it looked so cute. Anyway, I played with it for a few hours and then got bored with it. It has spent the last 8 months collecting dust on a shelf.

Yesterday, I happened across this book at B&N and have been reading it ever since. Way to go Jamie! The shell of this thing totally threw me off and I never thought to crack it open. I like the mods you made - very practical and I am strongly considering adding the camera so I can check on my home when I am on vacation - or maybe spy on my kids.

Very good book - easy to read - really cool subject - I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Honestly I have not finished reading this book, but I have enjoyed every page of it that I decided to give it a well deserved review. Very well written, simple, and enjoyable. This book goes from the very beginning, history and development of the Robosapien, interviews with Mark Tilden (Robosapien creator),from packaging of the robot, tips, tricks, and ways to Hacking it, with lot of black & white pictures of the robot and its internal parts. The book also give a preview of the Robosapien online community with info and resources, and insights for the new Robosapien v2. If you own a Robosapien or going to buy one, you owe this book to yourself.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently purchased a Robosapien X. It's my first Robosapien. I've wanted one for years, and when I found the X at the store I purchased it immediately. I did a bit of research and found that the Robosapien X is literally exactly the same as the first Robosapien that was released, and that research led me to this book.

The book has lots of small tips and tricks in it that work great with the Robosapien. They range from programs to tips on how the sensors work on the robot, and all of them work excellently with the new RS X model. There is even a more advanced project in the book which shows you how to add a wireless camera to the Robosapien, and the parts are still readily available online so the instructions can still be followed perfectly today.

The thing that I liked the most about the book, though, is the history and background information about how the Robosapien came to be. It was fun to read about some of the design and planning that went into putting this robot together.

Overall, I like the book and think it's a great thing to have to get the most out of your Robosapien.
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Format: Paperback
Having read a number of robotics books, what struck me first was how well structured Robosapien Companion is. This is not simply a collection of hacks and technical tidbits. Rather, it is a companion in the truest sense. Samans deftly follows the full curve of Robosapien's life, starting with Mark Tildens early BEAM endeavors and Robosapien's development, moving to cracking into the box and getting the most from a virgin 'sapien, and rounding it out with basic and advanced hacking techniques.

Two different but alike audiences will enjoy this book. The first are those looking to get more play from the Robosapien toy. The text offers plenty to do. Though I bought my Robosapien to hack, I found myself keeping it in one piece and trying out the programming lessons and "secret" functions. The second audience are those who admire Mark Tilden's work and want to know how he applied it to Robosapien.

Being a member of this last, I found two chapters of particular interest. First, I appreciated the chapter on the development of Robosapien. Samans discusses some of Mark Tilden's design principles and shows how they culminated in a biped at the Telluride workshop. This was, of course, the first Robosapien. Samans goes on to capture the excitement of Robosapien's early days. Next, I enjoyed Chapter 6 on controlling and walking. This showed where Robosapien falls in the spectrum of passive-dynamic machines. Passive-dynamics is a hot topic in robotics circles and Robosapien Companion hints at the potential of using a 'sapien for exploring these ideas

In fact, finishing Robosapien Companion leaves me with an urge to explore all sorts of things with a Robosapien. Samans provides a good framework for such explorations, weaving in commentary from Mark Tilden, expanding upon the ideas, and rounding out with links to the online community. Companion is a good book and I recommend it.

J Wolfgang Goerlich
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