I have always wanted a humanoid robot and in the past year several companies have started producing kits allowing the 'novice' builder to build and play with their new toy.
Fighting humanoid robots I hear you say, yes it started in Japan with Robo-One tornaments, it is now gathering pace in the US and has just hit the UK shores. Part of the popularity has to be down to Pino and Robosapian and the interest this has sparked, especially sinec it was last years best Christmas toy.
The robots have been made possible by the new high torque, high speed servos. No longer do we have standard 3.5Kg/cm Futaba servos, these robots rely on 9Kg/cm and future ones are easily looking at 28Kg/cm.
At first there was the KHR-1 from Kondo which I was tempted by, however it looked a bit primitive and I wasn't totally convinved. The KHR-1 has a number of tune-up options including bigger feet, mobility addons, stronger servos, remote control and most recently grippable hands.
And then Hitec produced the Robonova-1 It's style is a lot more commercial than the KHR-1 looking more like a toy than a kit, in fact there are two options available pre-built and kit form. The format is roughly the same as the KHR-1 with 16 servos (no head servo) and the same DOF (Degrees Of Freedom).
I looked around and got a pretty good deal, to give a 'rough' comparison:
Active Robots (UK) £720 with postage
HitecRc (Germany) 870 Euro's
schlich Mayen (Germany) 769 Euros, 28 Euros insured postage.
I brought it from the last place in Germany, they sell the Robonova on ebay for 699 Euros so I brougt it. With postage, paypal fees and all it cost £550 which is a massive saving compared to the UK sellers (and for once I didn't get hit by customs for importing as Germany is in the EU). It took about 10 days to arrive but I can't complain due to the cost.