Heathkit Educational Systems

blackherobot.jpgHeathkit Educational Systems

Whether you and your students want to write custom algorithms for artifical intelligence or just want an entertaining learning tool, Heathkit's HE-RObot™ can do the job. Built with a compact design for optimal mobility, HE-RObot™ utilizes industry standard PC hardware and software providing the most versatile and user-friendly robot on the market today. Controlled by remote or set to move autonomously, it is capable of sensing its environment, reacting and moving around obstacles. HE-RObot™ can talk, see, hear, transmit receive and process data, or if you like, just play a CD. By being able to do just about anything, HE-RObot™ provides students and teachers with a friendly, personable technological experience.

Very interesting, but I'm not impressed with the fact that it uses Microsoft Robotics Studio. There is a Flash demo here with a little more info. I couldn't find a price, but my initial guess is somewhere north of $2k.

[update:] Thanks to Trevor for the price quotes. Looks like $8k in the US. All I can say is WTF. At most it's about $1k in parts. I imagine a lot of the cost is the educational materials and software, but still, wtf.

[update 2:] The HERO is a re branded White Box robot which can be had for as little as $5500 or as much as $8000 and they do have a Linux version.

400GB Frozen Drivecicle

Happily I have successfully recovered the last bits of un-backed up data from my crashed HD.  It was a an early SATA drive from a 4 1/2 year old Dell Dimension 8300.

About a month ago (just before the move), the disk crashed with a horrid buzzing noise.  Attempts to reboot just produced an annoying click of death.  To salvage the disk, I put it in the freezer for 2 hours.  I pulled it out, plugged it into a SATA to USB adapter and it mounted right away.  I was able to copy off my old home dir and 2 days of photos.

I'll add it to the pile of disks to do something artsy with some day.