WowWee MiP Quick Teardown

The WowWee MiP ("mobile inverted pendulum") robot is the first of its kind on the mass market. It's a toy robot that does what most other toy robots do: it rolls around your living room floor, making squawks and beeps and bumping into things, and being really cute in general. However, the MiP does it with style. The mechanical design is not inherently stable. If the MiP is turned off, it will not stand upright on its own wheels (a handy stand is provided for display). Instead, an onboard sensor suite and powerful ARM Cortex processor keep it teetering upright just like any self-respecting science fiction robot (or slightly less self-respecting tourists on Segways).

Researchers and hobbyists have been building devices like this for a number of years, but it's always exciting to see a niche technology make it to mainstream (much like the quadcopter boom in the past couple years). Robotics hobbyists pay close attention to the toy market, because a lot of technology can be hacked back into customized designs.

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Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 05/11/2014 - 00:03.

Cheap Wireless Camera Review

In the past few months, cheap wireless video cameras have been showing up on a lot of auction and discount electronics websites. Claims of range and transmission quality vary, but there seem to be a few main types. Prices, depending on whether you order from a local distributor or direct from China, seem to range from the low $20's to the high $40's. I decided to grab one and see how well it works. The camera was purchased on eBay for about $25. I didn't expect much quality for that price. This version has audio and video transmission...many only have video.  Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Sat, 03/08/2008 - 02:49.