Last week I ventured out into the wilds of Monterey to meet Michael Gruber who runs the RoboteShop.
RoboteShop has been an online and part-time venture for Michael for a while, but recently he’s begun working on it full-time and has set up a small showroom and is launching robot courses for kids. The showroom is at least as much man-cave as it is retail space, but it provides a great opportunity to get a real feel for the robot range that Roboteshop has on offer. The thing that sets Roboteshop apart is that it offers a really interesting flock of robots from Japan, Korea and Taiwan. These run from the top end bipedal beauties through to very cheap little things with cardboard cut-out bodies. Michael assures me that the other distinguishing factors of the Roboteshop are lots of English-language hands-on support and pricing that is the same as in the manufacturing countries and so very competitive.
The Roboteshop certainly has some great robots on offer and by steering completely away from LEGO and Arduino has an entirely distinct offering. The bipedal range was something I’d seen on videos from Japan but never played with – and apart from being lovely pieces of engineering they’re just amazingly cute. To push one over and watch it lift itself back up to standing position is great fun.
Michael is also setting up robotics courses. He’s got a couple listed on his catalogue now and some more being planned. The current courses are being held at at MakersPlace in the Italian Forum, Leichhardt. It’s nice to see some alternatives to LEGO Mindstorms being offered.
Probably the biggest problem with RoboteShop at the moment is that it’s website is a beast to navigate, but if you are interested in robots it’s worth the effort. And if you want to see some robots hands-on just give Michael a call to set up a time and head out to Monterey.