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Old 07-29-2007, 03:03 AM
sje sje is offline
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Default And yet another idea for a kit

The Heathkit company of Benton Harbor, Michigan was in business for decades as a manufacturer of electronics kits. I can remember reading their catalog back in the late 1960s and wanting to order one of everything. In later years they also had a number of computer kits including the only Digital PDP-11 clone kit available for enthusiasts.

Can you guess what their most popular kit was? (It still has a somewhat active user group today.)

[dramatic pause]

It was the HERO robot. The kit appeared in a number of forms and had various accessories.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HERO_%28robot%29

And: http://www.hero2000robots.com/index2.html
And: http://www.robotswanted.com/robotgallery/heathkit/
And: http://hero.dsavage.net/
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  #2  
Old 12-31-2007, 01:32 AM
sje sje is offline
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Default Five months later...

It seems that the Heathkit Hero robot is making an official comeback of sorts.

See: http://www.heathkit.com/herobot.html

Alas, there doesn't seem to be any provision for an arm or gripper. No pricing information has been posted.
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2008, 01:07 AM
Craig Craig is offline
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Default

I had a HERO Jr. Piece of doodoo. Just walked into walls and sang "Daisy".
Not as bad as the Sony AIBO robot dog I bought and returned a week later.

- Craig
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  #4  
Old 01-09-2008, 01:20 AM
Just Bob! Just Bob! is offline
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Location: I am currently in Clinton Township Michigan, which is a little North & West of the Motor City
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Lightbulb Heathkit HERO Jr.

Well Craig, I still have my Hero Jr. <somewhere>, you needed to get additional ROM cartridges to expand his universe! I believe he is still the only robot to entertain us with a superb rendition of the Dr. Pepper jingle, play Hide n' Seek, Cowboys & Robots, and bump into more things than a drunken CEO at a Secretaries conference! There was also a BASIC Interpreter Cartridge, that had robot command extensions. I used to write the Basic routines on the Altair, and download the via the serial port, since the only onboard storage was volatile RAM.

Outside of the fact Jr. was born paraplegic, (no arms), the only thing really missing was a Charging Docking Station, he could automatically locate and connect, upon detecting a low battery condition.

My Jr. did have a rather traumatic experience, as a result of my negligence. As you may recall, the creator of all robots, "the Maker", intelligently designed Jr. not to wander about when tethered to the the life force restorer, (power brick). One evening as I was preparing to hit the town, such as it is in the Detroit metropolitan area, Jr. had taken a cat nap as Jr.'s do. I had forgotten to connect the charger to keep him wrangled, when from the living room I heard the thump, thump, thump of a rather heavy object descending the staircase at a high rate of speed, ending in a horrific crash of plastic and aluminum and the whine of a tiny little voice crying "help, help, help...." !

When I ran to the source of the calamity, at the bottom of the stairs, was my 'naked' little Jr., like most little children, had managed to shed his clothing, (body panels), and was sitting on his head, drive wheel spinning in the air, yelling HELP!

When I took him back to the local Heathkit Store, the Technicians couldn't control their laughter, when I related the tragedy to them. and the upside down Help cry was not a documented Feature or Response! Jr. never fully recovered from the fall, although his body panels looked great, they otta @ $75 a panel, but at times you would come across him, just turning in a circle, for no apparent reason, aside from "Dain BRamage"

But it would be a cool kit to redo!

Bob
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  #5  
Old 02-29-2008, 06:50 PM
sje sje is offline
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Default Pricing data

It turns out that Heathkit is re-badging robot hardware from another company whose name escapes me at the moment. The pricing from the other company ranges from US$5,000 to US$8,000 (ouch!) depending on configuration. The low end price is for the platform with wheels, motors, some sensors, etc., but no ITX form CPU/board and no shiny plastic housing.

The US$5,000 version looks more attractive to the hacker and not only because of the lower price. For one thing, the off-center cheap web cam from the high end model is missing, making room for a centered, possibly binocular arrangement. But it's still a high price for a unit that has no provision for an arm.
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