Inside the Femisapien (and some modding ideas)

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Shai Alyt NEMO
Shai Alyt NEMO's picture
Inside the Femisapien (and some modding ideas)

Hello to the RoboCommunity from Ukraine!

I am recently joined the board. Sorry in advance if my english is'nt perfect.

Some time ago I had purchased the Femisapien and Roboquad of course, with the intention to disassemble/reassemble/mod them (do you remember that "disassemble-no reassemble (the grasshopper)" scene from the "Short Circuit" movie? ;)

So, for first contribution, here are some shots of Femisapien's inside:

1. General view w/o the breastplate and with one arm open:

2. Closeup of a torso innards:

3. The arm :


- Only shoulder joint is powered independently. Forearm is actuated by cardan from the same gearbox, that moves shoulder.

- Four-positioned hand-joystick and wrist LED are clearly visible.

4. The torso from another perspective:


- Two motors for shoulders and a VR for lean feft-right movement control.

5. Lean Left-Right motor and speaker on the back.

6. Leg inside:


- Motor and gearbox for leg forward/backward movement (walking).

- The batteries (6xAA) are in "shoes".

7. The head-tilt switch (wery simplistic one, indeed) and the power switch:

8. "Back side of the Moon" err... of the Mainboard:

9. "No Femisapien was harmed during this photosession!"


Shai Alyt NEMO
Shai Alyt NEMO's picture

            And now for some modding ideas:

            The Femisapien is Female, so I think she is missing:

1. Eyes (LEDs under her head/helmet visor, maybe, powered by inverted and amplified signals from wrist LEDs).

2. Heart (Pulsing LED at left side of her breast, ideally, with pulse frequency controlled by user's touch, but I don't have a schematic for simple and compact capacitive or other touch sensor that can be hidden under her breastplate (any help from community?)).

Also, I think it would be nice to:

3. Change red (not in stile with white/silver/violet body) wrist LEDs to blue or maybe (ultra)violet. (Also, I'm not shure, if this is possible without additional amplification of a signals (because blue LEDs need significantly more voltage, than red, especially such small and dim ones)). 

4. Somehow amplify the signal from the mic. She seems too "deaf" for me, especially frustrating in "Conversation" and "Dance" modes (some help from community on this point will be very useful too).

Peter Redmer
Peter Redmer's picture

Welcome to the community, and thanks for posting your awesome inside look at Femisapien. Those are some great hacking/modding ideas, too.

What ideas does everyone else have for Femisapien mods?

Sintacs's picture

I don't consider myself a "Shame!"-caller, nor do I hold aloft a copy of I, Robot in one hand while decreeing "Blasphemer!" with the other, but "$#@! it!" (in respect of others), there are things that just shouldn't be opened, screws that shouldn't be un'd (?) and Femisapien's body casing - and the screws holding her together, should be counted-in along with those things! My Femisapien will remain just the way she is - and if she ever needs to be opened, someone who had a hand in closing her up will have to do that; not me.

MrScott's picture

Sintacs said:
I don't consider myself a "Shame!"-caller, nor do I hold aloft a copy of I, Robot in one hand while decreeing "Blasphemer!" with the other, but "$#@! it!" (in respect of others), there are things that just shouldn't be opened, screws that shouldn't be un'd (?) and Femisapien's body casing - and the screws holding her together, should be counted-in along with those things! My Femisapien will remain just the way she is - and if she ever needs to be opened, someone who had a hand in closing her up will have to do that; not me.

You are not alone in your opinion. You may even be in a usually quiet majority. On the other hand, this community has a long history of holding no fastener sacred. Whatever has been done, can be undone, when it comes to bot assemblies. Even if it means cutting wheels and razor saws.

Sometimes they're stripped down to replace that crumbled insulation, or reattach that hand cable. More often it's just the curiosity of answering the question "How did they DO that?!"

With either opinion, it's no harm. No foul. Just a realization that if you're going to hang around RoboCommunity, you are most definitely going to see the the insides of everything.

Most such threads are clearly marked as "tear down", "hack", etcetera.

Neither side of the discussion has any cause for calls of shame.

Shai Alyt NEMO
Shai Alyt NEMO's picture

Just some words.

To Mr.Scott: "Whatever has been done, can be undone" - it's indeed true for robotic "surgery" in difference with a surgery of biological organisms. So, I am not very afraid to try to improve my Femi according to my taste. More to say, that modified (by myself) Femi feels more dear to me than cold and sterile one "out of the box".

But that apply to a "hard bodied" robots with screws on their backs, which make them easy to open/close. For a "furry robots" like my Lady Myobu (FurReal Friends Kitty Cat aka Yume Neko Smile) - I will thnk twice before trying to open (as I have not enough synthetic fur sewing skills).

To Sintacs: OK. Then what do you think about that ( ) guy. Is he a blasphemer or pervert? I dont think so!


P.S. My Femisapien mods are not abandoned. I just have another problems (from a so called real life) to concentrate on for now... 


idrum289's picture

Mate, if I had the skills to put 'em back together, then my bots would be disassembled. My RSV1 and Spidersapien had to be taken apart to put their heads back looking forward instead of looking left. I'm having too much fun with them though to pull them apart again for modding, hacking or whatever. I'm slowly building my knowledge and skills so that in the near future....well, need I say more ;)

redstorm's picture

what kind of MCU this unit have? :)) i think it will be hard to make a prototype board at the same size) however, if it could be some arm like processor - then, if there a decent memory availible, it is possible to make some arm-linux-based distr ( "femios" :D ), which could simplify programming of common routines and AI thru scripts, and hardware-low-level functions (leg/arm positioning)could be coded in arm asm, and probably copyed from existing firmware. i guess that factory board indeed has something unlike an arm/mips processor here and have very little memory availible. however, i would like to take a look at an existing firmware :D...

ps. i got mine for 46(+23 delivery)$ yesterday))) but not received it yet )

ADD: i try to look at the femi's mainboard photos, but the image quality is too bad to recognise chip's identity... so maybe one have a closeup hi-res photos of mainboard's both sides?

ADD: maybe, at first, the easiest way to use 'body' functions is to use IR interface to send/receive commands via external controller... also i don't know how deep 'internal' controller can be controlled/programmed, using IR interface... maybe, even existing firmware update/retrive is possible (logically i would make things so, in case of improving firmware testing on ready unit - without reassemble). also, there is always a problem with a free space inside))) but it would be great to use, for example, one MCU for low-level functions and other (more powerful) for logic, pattern recognition, AI... etc. maybe also somehow a camera can be used - like in mobile phones - but i didn't tried yet to read image from them with MCU). not so long time ago i tried also to finish one project for quake2 client-side bot (still made very little changes to code :D and swiched to other tasks), so i was thinking of some basic behavior and learning function (queue task tree / prediction / modifying.. etc)

ADD: looks like i've found some 'cheap' (110$) arm9 (pxa270) com/sbc module.
it has enough interfaces (SDIO/SPI/I2C/Serial .. even camera interface!)
now is the question..., is there space for it availible inside?
( module dimensions 67.5 x 31 x 4 mm ).

ADD: recognised motor-controller chip.datasheet is here
i think it could be reasonable try to install a little heatsink also. (maybe this will speed up movements a little.)

CONCLUSION: probably firmware is not upgradable. internal controller is primitive rom based with a little memory availible. that is explaining a limit of 80 stored moves. and they disappear after power-off. no flash memory here.

ADD: with futher forum reading i realised, that concept platform 'linux on robot' was already done on 'rs media' robots. so, probably, one day .. they could release some sort of femisapien-like robot with advanced (linux enabled) controller. i should also say for myself, that i like the existing design of femisapien and want her to have an advanced user-programmable controller. however, it is also would be great to see some mechanical improovements while keeping the size of unit nearly the same.

Whitefort's picture

Shouldn't this thread be marked 'for adults only' or something?  I mean those were awfully explicit images of a naked Femisapien!!


redstorm's picture

i guess bender will rate this content like 'for adults' :))) man, you really serious? :D this tread instead can save many femisapien lifes)))

ADD: also, maybe one know, what type of position sensors femi uses and where i can read datasheet or description? i guess it is some kind of variable resistor, ..

Shai Alyt NEMO
Shai Alyt NEMO's picture

For "Left Arm Up/Down", "Right Arm Up/Down" and "Lean Left/Right" they surely are VRs (notice that black/brown thing with 3 wires, normally covered by her "panties" on photos 1,2,4).

The VRs for arms are on the back (you have to remove her backplate with speaker and power switch) and are similar but light orange.

Caution! Don't remove them without a definite need, or you will waste much time and harsh words adjusting them again and listening how your Femi struggles to move her arms out of physical limits ;)

I guess, for legs the same technology is used, but did not searched for her leg VRs yet.

The motors are not step motors, but a simple "toy-class" DC electric motors. As I understand, when her CPU wants to move, say, her arm half-way up, it simply turns on arm motor and repeatedly poll the arm VR until it will return the value, associated with "arm half-way up" position. Then motor stops. That technology is common for almost all WowWee robots. And sometimes even simpler: each of the Roboquad's legs have instead of VR only one switch, which tells CPU that leg is in "default" position.

redstorm's picture

so i am noticed, that she moves until programmed position, not trying to do some more advanced logic if you try to move her, for example. i read the datasheet on MD6750, and it looks like every DC motor is controlled by 2 bits. accidently, i have noticed also some small 2048 bytes eeprom FT24C02A (i thought it was some opamps or so on at first) ... wonder, how it may be used? definetly, it contains some data even after shutdown.
what is the part number for VR? i want to read a datasheet to understand their functionality better. or they are just 3 output variable resistance like? ( x--[ R-position ]--x--[ R+position ]--x )?

redstorm's picture

checked; indeed, it is variable resistor sensor, which transform turn angle into voltage. the vr, that i measured, supplied by 3.3v input power, and return ( 0.77 v .. 1.69 v .. 2.52 v ) as min/avg/max deflecting angle according to physical limits.

here is some photos and video. ( a very special video for bender, only for adult robots :D )

Perturbee's picture

I'm glad you took the time, effort and courage to reveal her inside to the world.
It is one of those things I'd like to know but don't dare to ask (or do in this case)...
Thank you for posting the photo's, now I'm certain I'll never open mine. (Unless I'm really sure about what I'm doing.)

Diode's picture

OMG those pics NEED to be censored!!!!!!! the femisapien Looks very cool, and I just got one!!!!!

Shai Alyt NEMO
Shai Alyt NEMO's picture

Just fixed the images in this thread (now they are hosted on Robocommunity).
Hope, they still can be useful for someone.

matthew bevins
matthew bevins's picture

i really like robots soon i got a replacement for the femisapien i am going to custumize her into the altament robot can you gave me some ideas on her

matthew bevins
matthew bevins's picture

i need some ideas like making cooling system for her body by the way mini femisapien says hi i like to put a seccond computer chip in her to give her memoreyy and smart and a changing color led in femisapien body for a party body

genericlinuxuser's picture

Hi, I was looking at that motor controller, the MD6750G. That same chip controls the motors in the RoboPet and I'd like to interface it to a Raspberry Pi GPIO but I'm having trouble sourcing the pin out. If anyone still has the data sheet, I'd love to look at it. The provided link is dead unfortunately.