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WowWee Mr. Personality Review


Ever wanted a fun and genuinely interesting robotic companion?  How about your very own stand-up comedian?  Well, thanks to WowWee, you can have both!  Mr. Personality is a funny and cynical robotic buddy that you will surely enjoy having in your home.  He's got the jokes and stories to keep the young (and young at heart) entertained and wanting more!  So, let's dive into this review head first!

The Box:

The first thing you're going to notice when seeing the box is that it has no clear plastic casing to display the robot.  "That's weird" I thought as I flipped the box around looking for the robot...  I was worried I was going to have to destroy this nice glossy box in order to hack apart the wires and deflector shields WowWee packs their robots in to keep them safe and secure...

The Packaging

You know all those screw drivers and wire cutters and light sabers you needed to get your Roboquad and RSV2 out of the boxes?  Throw em' away!  That's right folks, I am pleased to announce that Mr. Personality comes packed in STYROFOAM molds for a quick and painless unboxing experience!

Packaging

Upon seeing this new method of packaging their robots, I swear I actually smiled as I pulled the styrofoam mold out of the box.  I wasn't going to need those band-aids after all...

What's Included With Mr. Personality

Mr. Personality comes with a few accessories.  Of course there is the robot itself (a really cool design by the way) along with the remote, USB cable, DC Adaptor (!), user manual, and a battery to run Mr. Personality's internal clock.  I was wondering where the software CD was, but after flipping through the manual, I realized you just download it.  

contents

The Remote

This time, I think that WowWee got the remote exactly right.  The first thing I noticed...  NO SHIFT KEY!  That's right, no more memorizing what buttons do which function on what shift.  Each button has one clearly defined function which enables easy control.  So easy, in fact, that I felt I could give the remote to a young child and they would be able to control the robot the way a seasoned WowWee robot user would. 

I remember letting my six year old sister play with my Roboquad.  I tried to explain how the remote worked, and inevitably she just kept hitting the demo button because it was easy to make the robot dance.  With Mr. Personality, she will be able to get full use of the robot thanks to the remote's simple and intuitive design.

remote

You Tribot fans may be wondering if Mr. Personality is packing a tilt sensing remote for tilt control.  He is not.  But honestly, I don't think it's a function that will be sorely missed with this robot.  If you really like tilt controlled robots, you can always play with Tribot.  That said, the remote is curved and fits nicely in your hand...  like Tribot's remote. 

Booting Up:

Like the RS Media, Mr. Personality takes a few seconds to boot up.  He will arch his torso backwards and a loading bar will appear on his LCD screen.  The video below lets you see the complete boot up sequence.

Max and Simon: The "Personality" in Mr. Personality

Max and Simon are the included personalities.  Max is a cheery, easily excited, goofy character with a smiling yellow face.  He is positive, optimistic, and genuinely entertaining.  Simon is Max's counterpart.  Simon is cynical, annoyed, and grumpy with a blue face.  He doesn't like Max and he's not afraid to let you know.  My personal favorite is Simon - I'm cynical too :)  Both characters are well developed and play off each other perfectly.  The facial animations are smooth and crisp.  If WowWee keeps releasing personalities for download that are as entertaining as Max and Simon, this could be one fun robot to have!

Max Simon

Functions:

Mr. Personality has a bunch of fun functions to take advantage of. 

"BITS" prompts the robot to tell a joke or a funny short story.  Some of these even made me laugh.  The jokes were better than I expected, some of them were pretty good!  Their method of delivery may be even better though.  But be careful, Simon let slip their human enslavement plans once...

"STORY" prompts a story delivered by Max and Simon.  The stories are interactive and they will ask you to push "YES" or "NO" to hear Max's or Simon's version of a particular part of the story.  Multiple outcomes are possible thanks to the interactive nature of the story function.

"CRYSTAL BALL" allows you to ask the robot a yes or no question which they (Max or Simon) will answer for you.  Kind of like a robotic magic 8 ball.

"FORTUNE" prompts a daily fortune told by Max or Simon.  They will only allow one fortune a day and can actually keep track of the time and date thanks to the internal clock and calandar.  

"DEMO" will not make Mr. Personality dance.  It will however prompt them to tell you all about themselves and what they can do for you.

The joystick and arrow buttons allow you to drive Mr. Personality around in literally any direction.  There is even a trigger button on the back of the remote that when held allows you to drive the robot "like an RC car" meaning that steering left will make the robot turn to ITS LEFT, not your left.

The rewind/pause/play/fast forward buttons allow you to take control of the facial animations.

"YES" and "NO" allow you to interact in story mode.

"OK" allows you to make selections in the menu.

"L.ARM", "BODY", and "R.ARM" control the arms and waist of the robot.  Each arm is moveable at the shoulder and has a posable elbow joint.  The hands do not move, but the fingers are a somewhat flexible rubber allowing you to place small objects in them.

"GREET" allows you to set Mr. Personality up to greet you when you come back from work or school.  He will play a prerecorded greeting or an audio file that you record yourself.  This function works similarly to the familiar "Guard" mode in many other WowWee robots.

"ALARM" allows you to use Mr. Persoanlity as a true alarm clock.  Set the time and he will wake you up, and I promise it will be more fun than a regular alarm.  You can even tap his head to set the snooze function.

"MENU" gives you access to the menu where you can change preferences, set alarms, mark birthdays and anniversaries, toggle sensors, access different personalities,  set up greetings, and set the time and date.

"TIME" will prompt Mr. Personality to tell you what time it is.

"STANDBY" will put Mr. Personality into a battery saving standby mode until he receives input from the remote.

"MEM" allows you to record a voice memo using the robot's mic.  This memo can be played as a greeting or played back as a reminder.

"Volume" allows you to increase or decrease the volume of Mr. Personality's voice.

There is even a power button that allows you to turn the robot off using the remote.  However, turning him back on will require that you press the power button located on the back of the robot.

The video below gives a brief demonstration of Mr. Personality's control, mobility, and a few of the functions.

As you can see, there is quite the laundry list of functions available with the robot.  The one thing I feel is missing is an autonomy mode.  With such incredible sensors and manuverability, I would think it would be a simple and fun option to include.  After a while though, my yearning for an autonomy mode diminished thanks to the fun and entertaining abilities of Max and Simon.

Power:

Mr. Personality is powered by 6 C batteries and the included internal clock battery.  The remote requires 3 AAA batteries.  The batteries are installed on the underside of the robot.  You will need a thin philips screwdriver to open the compartment up.

compartment

The robot can also be powered by the included DC adaptor.  This is required when putting Mr. Personality in greet or alarm modes so as not to drain the batteries.  Use of the omnidirectional wheels will not be enabled while using the adaptor. 

Sensors:

IR - So many IR sensors!  For the first time ever, WowWee has put IR sensors on each side of a robot for increased object detection.  Mr. Personality has IR sensors on the front, sides, and back around the wheels to detect low sitting obstacles.  When triggered, he will stop before colliding with the wall.  He also has an IR sensor on his head for flinch responses.

Sonic - There is one mic in Mr. Personality's head that detects loud sharp noises like claps and bangs.  It is also used to record voice memos.

Light - There is one light sensor on the top of the robot's head that detects changes in ambient light levels.

Touch - there is a small button on top of the head that you will tap for various reasons (snooze, greetings, etc).  There are no bump or capacitive touch sensors on the robot.

Tilt - There is a tilt sensor inside the robot that allows it to inform you when it has fallen over.  I tried it out and when lying on the ground, Simon said "You really need to vacuum your floor."

There is no camera or tracking feature like in the RSV2 and RS Media.  Also absent is edge detection, although that is pretty common in WowWee robots, with the exception of the Robopet and Wrex the Dawg.  I would just be careful when driving Mr. Personality around stairs.  He moves fast and could break if taking a dive that far!

Customization and Expandability:

Mr. Personality comes with an SD card slot and 64 MB of internal memory to store and load new personalities.  The personality software can be downloaded for free here along with the manual.  This program is used to download new personalities from the web and upload them to Mr. Personality via a USB cable or SD card.  Check back at RoboCommunity for a detailed article about how to use this software!

Overall:

I really think that WowWee hit a home run with Mr. Personality.  The omnidirectional wheels are incredible.  I like bi-pedal walking robots as much as the rest of you, but let's face it, the technology is not developed enough to make a highly mobile walking robot at a reasonable price.  The omnidirectional wheels allow for incredible mobility over multiple types of terrain.  They also offer a very stable base for the sensitive electronics inside the robot.  I hope to see more of this platform in future WowWee products.  The default personalities are also something to write home about.  They are genuinely entertaining and will make kids and parents alike laugh out loud.  The remote is simple and intuitive and the sensor array make the robot interactive and safe to use.  I would recommend Mr. Personality as a gift to a child that loves robots or comedy and to tech-minded adults with a love for robots.  Great job WowWee!

PS - is anyone else reminded a little of the ill fated WowWee PEABOT?  The LCD screen face and "lots of personality" harken back to that robot for me.  If I remember correctly, the PEABOT was terminated because the segway-like wheel base was too expensive for mass production.  The omnidirectional wheel base solves that issue.  


Quick Links

Learn More About Mr. Personality

Purchase Mr. Personality

Talk About Mr. Personality on Our Forums

Tags : mr personalityomnidirectional wheel basepersonalities

Discussion:    Add a Comment | Comments 1-14 of 14 | Latest Comment

October 13, 2008 6:54 PM

OK I have to say that is a loooong start up time, so Mr Personality is bipolar pretty funny I think. I do beleve I can get most of the tilt feature in the Tri-Bot. One thing I don't like is that the arms will not extend at the elbos so this will be a good upgrade for the Tri-Bot. Thanks for the great videos and great article as well.

Jax

GWJax, To Hack and make mods on robots is a life style and comes natural and not by choice. If a robot has a screw to open it then it must be opened!

October 13, 2008 8:19 PM

It's my pleasure GWJax! The start up time is comparable to the RS Media in length, so it's nothing we haven't seen before. And yeah, the Max/Simon personality is pretty entertaining! There's a lot of material for them to ramble off, and most of it is pretty funny. I'm looking forward to seeing what new personalities WowWee comes up with. I'm also interested to see if a 3rd party developer comes up with a way for us to make our own personalities, kind of like the Pleo MySkit software.

www.teachtechno.com

October 13, 2008 9:24 PM updated: October 13, 2008 9:26 PM

On the video at the website it said that he had a tilt remote like tribot. Also, I think all robots should be able to stand back up like RSV2 and RS Media.

Own every Wowwee Robot

October 13, 2008 9:36 PM

I assure you, Mr. Personality does not feature a tilt control remote. I just watched the video on the WowWee site and there is no mention of a tilt function. It would be cool if he could right himself when fallen over, but he is a pretty sturdy robot with a wide base, so falling over will be a very rare occurrence.

www.teachtechno.com

October 13, 2008 9:42 PM

I'm sorry, I mistaked that with the trigger control on Mr personality.

Own every Wowwee Robot

October 14, 2008 12:19 AM

Grandlarseny37 said:  It would be cool if he could right himself when fallen over, but he is a pretty sturdy robot with a wide base, so falling over will be a very rare occurrence.

I'm sorry to inform you but he is just like the Tri-Bot but larger, he will tip over if his sensors do not detect low objects just like the Tri-Bot and will tip over. mine does it all the time, thats way I need to install a low sensor on the Tri-Bot so this can be avoided.

Jax

GWJax, To Hack and make mods on robots is a life style and comes natural and not by choice. If a robot has a screw to open it then it must be opened!

October 14, 2008 12:34 AM

Fair enough, GWJax. If one of Mr. Personality's wheels were to roll over, say, a wadded up T-shirt that would imbalance him, then yes, he could fall over. I'm not sure about the Tribot, but Mr. P's IR sensors are pretty low to the ground (about 3 inches). Plus, they are there to avoid hitting obstacles as a result of clumsy or inexperienced operation from a user. He has no autonomy mode, so he can't get himself into a jam, only the user can. On top of that, Mr. P has (3 inch from the ground) IR sensors on the front and sides, whose line of sight falls directly in the center of the height of the wheels. There is also one higher up on his back and one on his head in the front, so he is pretty well covered. He can definitely be tipped over, but it's not something I would worry about happening too often :)

www.teachtechno.com

October 14, 2008 12:44 AM

I agree with that statement, M tri bot will get stuck on my motorcycle that is all crome and he just cannot see it at all and with the sensors at the right height as well. I guess in this part the IR is reflected to another possition other than his sensors. Plus you are correct if the floor is cluttered he may or may not ride over it and not tip over but most of the time it does. no harm is done to him he just says "I see the world in a whole new perspective" which I thinnk is funny.

Jax

GWJax, To Hack and make mods on robots is a life style and comes natural and not by choice. If a robot has a screw to open it then it must be opened!

October 14, 2008 12:52 AM updated: October 14, 2008 12:52 AM

GWJax, here's some pics of the low sitting sensors on Mr. P:

    

                Mr. P's right side                                     Mr. P's left side

                                 

                                                   Mr. P's front

 As you can see, the 3 bottom sensors are fairly low to the ground and cover a wuch lower/wider range than Tribot's chest level sensor.  On top of these 3, there is one higher up on his back and one on his head. 

www.teachtechno.com

October 14, 2008 10:44 PM

Your review made Engadget. :)

Congrats!

Nanabot - And One Robot To Rule Them All The under $100 game playing, conversational robot

October 15, 2008 11:45 AM

Thanks roschler! I see your wiimote/Rovio video made it as well!

www.teachtechno.com

February 28, 2009 3:53 PM

dang out of 15 robots now i wanna get this one lol.

September 20, 2009 3:21 PM

He looks cool. I didn't like the tilt function on Tri-Bot though. What was the point, it didn't always work, and they had the exact same controls right in front of you!

December 25, 2009 11:46 AM

i JUST BOUGHT ONE FOR MY KID. BUT IT DOES NOT START IT STAYS LOADING OR WITH A MESSAGE SAYING

Discussion:    Add a Comment | Back to Top | Comments 1-14 of 14 | Latest Comment

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