WowWee Tri-Bot ReviewPosted by GWJax on Monday, 25 August 2008
Let me kick off this review by saying that when I received the Tri-Bot, my heart was pounding with excitement and joy just like when I was a kid on Christmas, opening up my most anticipated presents. Even now as I type this article, I am still smiling... as all of you will when you pick one up for yourself.
Here he sits in his box... check out that little grin on his face and those big, lovable eyes staring at you! He's wearing his sharp, all red suit with bits of grey and black to off set the color, his 3 omni-directional wheels are telling me to open him up and let him out of the box to move around and explore his new world.
Let's take a look at Tri-Bot's box before we crack him open! You can see the front of the box pictured.
The rest of the back of the box is a picture of Tri-Bot showing he has LED eyes and mouth, pose-able arms and body, pop-top head, and animated eyebrows, along with an omni-directional base that enables rapid turns and hi-speed action, and finally, a remote with “Tilt Sensor“ control.
This is a really neat feature if you just need him to go forward, backwards, right and left. If you shake your remote, you’ll hear the ball bearing tilt sensor in there, so you won't need to worry about something being loose!
All right, it's time to remove the RS Tri-Bot from his cardboard home!
First on the top portion of the box, use a knife to cut the tape from the connection tabs, then remove the tabs and open the top lid. The clear plastic is glued to the box, so slide your hand down the sides and release the glue, at which point the Tri-Bot should then slip right out of the box.
Once you have Tri-Bot out of his box, go ahead and remove the plastic covering that is glued to the inside box.
You’ll notice that the remote is in the upper left corner and the Tri-Bot is anchored down by wire straps. Next, let's remove the manual from the bottom side of the box and put it to the side.
Here is another wire strap that must be removed, so with a pair of wire snips you can remove all the tie downs. (The locations of all the tie downs are pictured in the image gallery if you have trouble.)
Once this is done, you may remove Tri-Bot.
Now, you have a few more rubber bands that must be removed, these are hard to see at first, but when you spot them you can snip them off.
Also remove the neck support as well as shown here.
Powering Up Tri-Bot For The First Time
Now that we have him out of the box, let's add his batteries. First, install the remote's batteries; you can do this by removing the back battery cover and installing 3 AAA batteries.
Re-install the cover and press any button on the remote to ensure that the LED light comes on.
Next, let’s install the batteries into Tri-Bot. Lay him on his back, as the pickup handle and the back wheel will support him up. Unscrew the battery plate as you did with the remote, and install your 8 x AA batteries as shown below.
Re-install the battery plate and set him on his wheels. Now the fun part: turning on your Tri-Bot! To turn him on, there is a black button behind his back omni-wheel, press this button down and he will pick a random phrase to say or move each time you turn him on.
To get started with him right away, try the "Demo" button on the remote. Also feel free to move his arms and waist in the position you want. You will hear a clicking noise when these items are moved, which is completely normal, so don't worry!
The best way to enjoy the demo is by placing him in a wide open space so he has freedom to move about. Also keep in mind that when he is in his demo mode, his sensors are disabled.
Using Tri-Bot's Remote & Function Overview
Let’s take a look at the remote then discuss what it can do. See photo below:
This diagram came from the Tri-Bot manual. As you can see, it can perform many functions:
- Turn Clockwise or Counter Clockwise
- Move Freely using the Directional Keys
- Stop Tri-Bot
- Program Mode
- Playback Mode
- "Brain" Button to initiate Roaming Mode
- Games: Play one of three games
- Guard Mode
- Alarm Mode: Programmable for 1 to 12 minutes
- Tilt Mode: By tilting the remote, you can move Tri-Bot forward, back, left, and right
Tri-Bot's Game Mode
To activate Game Mode, do the following:
1. Press the GAME button on the remote controller.
2. Tri-Bot will say the name of the games, pausing after each name. To select the game you want, press the GAME button after he says the name. If you do not select a game after he has said all of the names, he will exit Game Mode.
3. Once you have selected a game, Tri-Bot will explain the rules of the game to you, and begin! To stop the game or to exit Game Mode, press STOP on the remote controller or press Tri-Bot’s head. These are the games you can play:
- Pattern Game: In the Pattern Game, Tri-Bot will drive out a pattern on the ground and then ask you to repeat the pattern by controlling him using the direction pad on the remote controller. Tri-Bot is equipped with lots of patterns for hours of fun! This is more like a memory game... which is one that I really need :)
- Maze Game: Tri-Bot will drive out the shape of the maze on the ground. He will then ask you to drive him in the same pattern, using the remote controller. You have a fixed amount of time to run through the maze correctly. He makes comments as he goes to tell you whether or not you are moving in the correct direction. Drive into a maze “wall” and he will “bump” off them harmlessly. Tri-Bot has lots of mazes in his memory! This one is a bit harder, at least for me, since the "mazes" get progressively harder as you move along. As you become better at them, you'll have more and more fun.
- Minefield Game: Similar to the Maze Game, but with mines, Tri-Bot will drive out the shape of the minefield on the ground. He will then ask you to drive him using the remote controller. You must follow the same pattern to avoid the mines! If you are facing a mine, rs Tri-Bot will beep. If the mine is directly in front of him, he will beep more quickly. Turn away from the mine to find a clear path -- if he beeps slowly, or does not beep at all, you can move forward. If you hit a mine, rs Tri-Bot will blow his top! He has plenty of minefields to test you! This one is by far the best game he offers, in my opinion. I love to see him blow his stack, it is so fun to watch... unless, of course, you are determined to navigate the minefield intact!
Note that it is important with all of these games to give Tri-Bot plenty of room to move around in.
Tri-Bot's Program Mode
In Program Mode you can program and store a sequence of up to 60 drive command program steps that Tri-Bot can play back on request.
Note that he cannot detect or avoid obstacles while he is in Program Mode. To enter Program Mode, do the following:
1. Press the Program button [ the button with the P and a circle on it ] . rs Tri-Bot will make a comment when he is ready to receive driving commands.
2. Use the direction pad on the remote controller to direct Tri-Bot’s movements. He will store the length of the movement as a single program step.
3. To add more program steps, repeat step 2.
4. If you want to add a pause to the sequence, press the STOP button. The length of time you hold the button will be equal to the length of the pause.
5. When you have finished, press the Playback button (the button with a P and an arrow on it) Tri-Bot will exit Program Mode and play the program back to you.
6. To clear the program, enter Program Mode by pressing the Program button and press the Playback button , without entering any drive instructions. To playback the program at any time, press the Playback button. Rs Tri-Bot will not remember any stored programs once you turn him off.
Note that Tri-Bot can only store one program at a time. If you store a new program, you will overwrite and delete the previously stored program.
The Roam Free button is the button with the brain on it. By pressing this button, this will give him the freedom that many of us enjoy but it is for 3 minutes only before he goes into standby mode. If you want to stop him, press the stop button on the remote or tap down on his head to go into his standby mode.
Tri-Bot's Guard Mode
Let’s look at the Guard mode and see how this works.
To activate Guard Mode, do the following:
1. Press the GUARD button on the remote controller.
2. Tri-Bot will ask you to “tap” his head. To do so, gently press his head in a vertical, downwards direction. He will then tell you that he is in Guard Mode.
3. When he first enters Guard Mode he will perform a long range scan of his immediate environment in front of, and behind him.
4. If he detects any movements or new objects, he will sound an alarm.
After about a half hour, he will exit Guard mode and await your command, and will report back to you if he detected any objects. If he receives no commands, he will then enter Standby Mode.
Tri-Bot's Standby Mode
Tri-Bot is equipped with a Standby Mode. If you do not interact with him for approximately 10 minutes he will make a comment, and enter Standby Mode. You can wake him up from standby by pressing his head.
Tri-Bot's Sleep Mode
If Tri-Bot is left for approximately 10 minutes more (that is approximately 20 minutes altogether) he will enter Sleep Mode, to conserve battery power. Again, you can wake him from sleep by pressing his head. It's best to power him down after each use.
Now lets look at the Alarm Mode, this mode if fun to wake the un-expecting as I will show you a video of my teen son that is a very hard sleeper, I know I’m bad but hey is all in good fun. Now lets find out how it works.
Tri-Bot's Alarm Mode
You can make Tri-Bot sound a pretty impressive alarm anytime you like. It was particularly fun using it to wake up my teenage son, who is an incredibly hard sleeper!
To activate Alarm Mode, do the following:
1. Press the ALARM button on the remote controller.
2. Tri-Bot will ask you to “tap” his head for the number of minutes you want to wait, before the alarm sounds. For instance, if you want the alarm to sound in two minutes, press his head twice.
3. Each time you press his head, rs Tri-Bot will confirm how many minutes he will wait before he sounds the alarm. Once you are done, he'll start the countdown.
The best part is that you have to run and catch Tri-Bot to get him to be quiet, making it perfect to annoy your kids or family members when they're trying to catch some extra sleep :)
If Tri-Bot falls over he will tell you. His wheels will automatically stop spinning, but you will need to stand him back upright to get him going again.
Tri-Bot has a homing function which allows him to follow you, or locate and move towards you. Be sure to give him time to locate you, before you start moving, if you want him to follow you. Press and hold the HOME button on the remote controller. Tri-Bot will look for you, and make comments as he goes. If he moves away from you, continue to press the HOME button as he scans the area and looks for you. If you release the HOME button, Tri-Bot thinks he has reached home, and will make another comment. Press the HOME button again if you want him to continue tracking you.
Other Helpful Hints For Tri-Bot
The Tri-Bot works better if it is ran an a smooth hard surface, but will run on carpet as well. Using Tri-Bot on a carpeted surface may draw your battery power more quickly (since there is more drag when moving on carpet) so you may want to buy some rechargable batteries. Of course, you'll be playing with your Tri-Bot so much, that you'll need them anyway!
Here is a diagram of the features that are on the Tri-Bot, including moving eyebrows, LED eyes, LED mouth, Tilt waist that is manually moved, Omni-directional wheel base, pose-able arms, IR sensors in front, IR sensors in back and the great “Pop-top” head and ears that really gives Tri-Bot its character.
Also, when moving him around, please use the hand strap on his back so you don’t damage him by accident. Remember to have fun with him and please post your opinions and experiences with Tri-Bot on the forums here
Overall, the Tri-Bot is a fantastic robot companion that has brought me alot of smiles and good times, and I would recommend it highly. I'm looking forward to seeing what's inside of Tri-Bot, and what cool hacks and modifications I can do... stay tuned!
Once again, thank you all for all your kind words in the community, and I look forward to posting my next installment for Tri-Bot!