Review: Kamigami Robots

At Maker Faire, I bought two 'robots': MiP which is really a pre-assembled robot which is more a toy than robot and a Musubi robot from Kamigami. 

I love toys and unlike many of you folks, electronics is still quite a mystery to me. So I like to buy kits when funds allow. I saw Kamigami last year at Maker Faire and I thought it a great idea. This year, they were selling them at a very attractive price (50 bucks at the Faire) so I bought one and it arrived in the mail this week. ( )

I bought the Musubi robot, because I liked the look at it was blue, my favorite color. 

I have to say, it is a great kit. It was packaged quite well. At first I was a bit mystified, since the only instructions in the box is how to charge the thing, and to go to their web page for instructions for assembly.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they catered to those who like videos (which I HATE, because they're useless for reference and time consuming) as well as step by step with pictures instructions which are very easy to follow. The electronics are pre-assembled and all  the parts are snap riveted together so no tools are required.  If you have fat fingers, pliers or a similar tool might come in handy to press two parts together while snapping the rivet.  The whole thing is simply a matter of folding, putting in rivets and pressing it closed.  After assembly, plug it into a computer's USB drive to charge.

It's controlled by an app, which will make this the 3rd robot app I have on my phone to control a robot, which is rather amusing. Once the guy is charged, I will do a writeup on how that goes along with pictures.

I know that on their web site they charge 99 bucks for the robot. Given what MiP cost and then my rather more formidable Darwin Mini with all its motors, I'm not sure if 99 bucks is a good price, I'll get a better idea once I have the guy up and running, but it was definitely worth the fun and hassle-free assembly of 50 bucks.


Review: Kamigami - Followup

Having downloaded the software and played with the little guy a bit, wanted to add my impressions of this kit.

Software is easy to install on a phone, easy to run. Once it started, it asked permission to turn on my bluetooth and found the robot fairly easily. It proceeded to update the firmware and after a few minutes it was ready to go.

There were a few options: Drive, Sumo, Freeze Tag, Laser Tag, Afraid of the Dark and a few Extras under one button. Drive works well, you have a button that handles like a joystick to drive your bug, and three additional buttons to change the glow of its eyes: Blue, Red or Green.  You can also change its speed from Turtle to Hare and by default it’s in the middle. Reacts fast and I found the middle to be pretty quick. This little guy can walk from floor to carpet pretty easily, which was a nice thing.

The Extras software had Dance, Circle and Zig-Zag. Dance turned the robot’s eyes purple, caused dance music to play on the phone while the robot then danced amusingly. Circle turned its eyes blue while it turned in a circle. Zig Zag turned its eyes green and  had it walk in a short zig-zag.

Afraid of the Dark implies it was looking for light. Initially I had it in a darkish room, and it wandered around, turning in circles. When put under a bright light, the behavior was the same, making me wonder if its body shielded the light sensors from above enough and that it wanted lights lower down to sense.

Sumo was -odd. The application implies the robots can be interactive, which almost makes me wish I had gotten two. When run, it buzzes, claims the robot is upside down and ends. When I turned the robot upside down, the program count down from 3 and then claimed the robot was upside down.

Freeze Tag seemed to be a program designed for two robots to play. From what I could tell, it seemed to look for the robot to be ‘bumped’ from behind. However, when I bumped it with my hand, it didn’t react, so it was basically a cut down version of the driving app, with a ‘freeze’ button which would make the robot flash and not much else.

I did not test Laser Tag as it seemed purely designed with two robots in mind.

None of the programs could be edited, nor could you create a program. The + key tells you that this feature is not yet available, which puts this robot in the realm of ‘toy’ at the moment. When this feature is available, I may upgrade it to ‘robot’. It clearly has sensors and lights and moves delightfully. I think how it moves is fairly clever and fits well with the ‘bug’ feel of the thing.

Overall: Easy to build. No tools necessary.

It’s Cute. One thing many robots lack, and this one gets around the problem by a cut-out bug shape that is folded and inserted into a base which then gets secured with the snap rivets. I have to say it was one of the big draws for me.

It’s easy to run. As a robot you can drive around, it’s fun.

Downside: The app is limited. You can’t edit or create programs of your own, so at present it’s a pricey, if adorable, assemble it yourself toy.

Is it worth the price? For fifty bucks, definitely.  For hundred? Not unless their program is updated to allow well, programming.  The MiP is priced at a hundred and while it doesn’t have the fun of putting it together yourself, does allow limited programming.

Pictures coming soon.

Thanks for the review. Any

Thanks for the review. Any pictures? 

(I hear they are worth, like… 1,000 words!)