Zoomer the Robot Dog Experience

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Zerover
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Zoomer the Robot Dog Experience

I just bought a Zoomer robotic dog out of curiosity and I am quite impressed.  The toy has a really innovative design and it has a very zoomorphic level of interaction. Yes, it is more of a toy than a robot as far as motorized complexity and brain power, but the clever crafting of its drive system coupled with excellent infrared collision avoidance blurs the line a bit.  Zoomer has an engaging personality, if you like frantic small dogs, although I found myself thinking it was more like a rodent or ferret when it really became insane. Voice control is superb, and the robot understands exactly the number of commands any sane person should commit to memory for such a toy. 

Even at this early stage of examination, Zoomer shows hints of developing behavior at a level of complexity I did not expect.  The robot does not always react the same to a command and almost always varies its responses.  At times Zoomer will slow down its rapid wanderings to lay down, fall asleep, or just wag its tail.  One of the most fascinating things to watch is the way the toy's eyes move when dog navigates--that is if you can keep up with it.   Zoomer moves with RC car swiftness at times and can change direction with dizzying forward and backward movements as it uses its binocular infrared vision to negotiated tight spots. The toy’s sensors are very effective at guiding the robot, and reaction is quick enough to actively follow animate objects like receding human heels with relative ease.   I've seen Zoomer navigate a forest of chair and table legs without getting stuck, only to emerge from the forest and do it all over again from a different angle.

I can't help but think that it is a shame this toy was not scaled up a bit and given a few more motors, a bigger battery and a programmable brain.  Zoomer's ability to rapidly traverse terrain gives the toy's interactive behavior a boost, because it is at the level of an animal with a high metabolism.  Zoomer can easily keep up with the walking pace that humans use at home and I think a larger one could match that of a real dog trotting along outside.   The independent four wheel drive system allows for instant acceleration and quick stops, and the articulated "suspension" arms and wasp waist make for tight stunt turns and exceptional traction. The design would make for a cool full size quad ride

 I feel it’s worth what I paid for the little toy, although naturally I would have happily paid less.  It’s not an Aibo knock off, or a new i-Cybie.  It’s not in the league of either of those robots as far as mechanical complexity or programmability.  Zoomer is a new thing; it’s faster and more agile than anything out there and it offers a glimpse into the faster paced interaction possible with future robotic pets. 

nomad
nomad's picture

any change for a video?

Zerover
Zerover's picture

There are many videos currently on the web featuring Zoomer that summarize the robot's behavior pretty well. When I decide to open it up I'll post some pictures then. Right now I'm still studying the exhisting AI and comparing it to other robots of similar complexity--and there are easter eggs buried in there.
The mechanism that drives Zoomers legs is very interesting. The elbows and knees of the toy are not motorized but function using a combination of engine torc, clutching, and spring tension to achieve standing and sitting postures. There are no motors in the shoulders or hips but there is one at the waist. It doesn't seem to be able to sense whether it's wheels are touching the floor but it can detect if it is on its side and which side it is on.

GTJYves
GTJYves's picture

Hi,

I just bought one this WE for my doughtier and quickly tried it: looks like she (and the whole family) is going to have fun.
i have one technical concern: I tried different ways to charge the battery but failed so far: my iPhone charger does nothing, nor does my desktop computer or a laptop.
What are you charging yours with?

Tonya
Tonya's picture

I'm having the same problem with charging. I was able to get it to charge once but never again. I brought it back to the store, exchanged it, tested the new one before leaving and it charged. Got it home, charged it up fully, my son played with it and now it won't charge. I get a slight flicker in the eyes when I turn the switch to on when it's on the charger. It's supposed to light up when charging and the eyes give you a battery level when you press down on his head. Again, he did that once, but now I'm stuck with a dead battery dog again. Was thinking this was a bad batch or something until I read GTJYves post above... any ideas on how to fix this? (I have tried charging on the laptop and wall outlet, wall outlet was what was successful the first time)

Tonya
Tonya's picture

Just messed around with it for about 10 minutes straight, flipping it around, patting it's head, turning it off and on, plugging and unplugging it and it FINALLY came on and is charging again. Any thoughts on this would still be appreciated, not sure what I did to get it to come back on, really seems random.

nomad
nomad's picture

hi.does the manuel says something howlong you must charge?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JocE7lhDPcM

GTJYves
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Yes, it is supposed to charge for an hour.

I never got any flicker in the eyes, although I charged it all night long (iPhone charger); the eyes remain switched off when I push on its head.

I'll try to get a 2100 mAh charger tomorrow to verify if it is linked to a high need for current.

Tonya
Tonya's picture

Try just plugging it into a plain old desktop USB port with the charger included and see if you get the faint flicker in the eyes. I get it if I plug the charge into the dog then into the computer THEN turn the power switch off and on.If you do then just keep messing with it until it suddenly comes to life... hopefully I can keep getting mine to do it....

nomad
nomad's picture

auch.not a good idea to charge hole night long.
can you check if the batt is death.
and ask manufacturer whits charger is best.

GTJYves
GTJYves's picture

I tried to charge Zoomer with a more powerful USB charger (10W, 2100mAh) and after 30 min, the eyes were indicating that it was fully charged!

The birthday of my daughter is Friday, so we'll soon find out if it really works fine.

nomad
nomad's picture

good find.two thumbs up for friday.

Tffny
Tffny's picture

Hi

Can anyone provide me with zoomers manufacturers contact information email and phone number.

Thanks so much.

Tffny
Tffny's picture

Can anyone give me Zoomer Robodog manufacters contact info, email or phone number?

Thanks so much.

Tffny
Tffny's picture

GTJYves said: Hi, I just bought one this WE for my doughtier and quickly tried it: looks like she (and the whole family) is going to have fun. i have one technical concern: I tried different ways to charge the battery but failed so far: my iPhone charger does nothing, nor does my desktop computer or a laptop. What are you charging yours with?

Can you provide me with zoomers manufacturers contact info I am having same issue.

 

 

 

nomad
nomad's picture

the adres chould be on the box

Tffny
Tffny's picture

nomad said: good find.two thumbs up for friday.

Can you tell me how to contact zoomers manufacturer or warranty contact number we through box out to early and now were having issues. Please and thank you.

nomad
nomad's picture

ask someone who bouth the zoomer too

nomad
nomad's picture
SJ
SJ's picture

Purchased this dog online, it came yesterday. Worked for 10 mins now it wont charge. I have contacted the supplier and I am waiting for a reply. I have tried my PC and laptop but I don't even get a flicker in the eyes. Tried patting his head and have waited over an hour to charge but still nothing. Its my daughters birthday on 30th and I hope this gets sorted by then ! Any tips would be really helpful.

nomad
nomad's picture

maybe you have to charge it a few houres.

Zerover
Zerover's picture

I'm having the same problem charging my Zoomer too. Now it is completely dead. Its pretty useless at this point for anything except--taking it apart to see what makes it tick. Maybe I will get a little more amusement out of this rolling rip-off yet.

nomad
nomad's picture

hi,can any place some pics off the charger and the inside batt case.
does the plug off the charger fitt well on the socket?

nomad
nomad's picture

hi,i dont know if you have any luck whit this video,i hope so

its how to test if your adaptor gifs the right amount voltage zoomer needs.

second it test if you got also negatif.the red crocdile clip is negatif in the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8EXhqxdS7g

Christie 1975
Christie 1975's picture

I am having the same charging issue. Just bought today and was able to charge twice. Please post what manufacturer advises and I will do the same. I just emailed their customer support but it's closed til Monday morningm

SJ
SJ's picture

Hi all, I took my zoomer back to the shop instead of returning online and they checked it in fromy of me. It was faulty and didnt charge or work at all. I have a replacemnt that the store manager had charged and tried it out before I got to the shop. It seems to works perfectly. But I have told him if after next Wednesday it doesnt charge I will return this one and get a full refund. So fingers crossed, I will keep you updated after Wednesday 30th.

nomad
nomad's picture

good work SJ.

PK mum!
PK mum!'s picture

Exactly the same situation bought this today after 30 mins of training,commands etc the toy stops working and will not charge.

Tried all options but completely 'dead!!'

Returning to Smyths tomorrow total pain as out of area and daughter extremely disappointed.

Any more info on if this is a design flaw or just unlucky seems to be a trend.

Christie 1975
Christie 1975's picture

RE: Charging Issues

The manufacturer e-mailed me the following - so far so good!

We're sorry to hear that Zoomer is giving you some charging problems and we would love to have the opportunity to help you out here. The good news is that there is a fairly straight forward work around for this! When charging Zoomer in the ON position (as the Instructions outline), Zoomer does need a little bit of battery life in order to initiate the charging process. If Zoomer has been running around all day, he might not have any power at all, which makes initiating the charging process a little more difficult.

Zoomer will also charge in the OFF position, and in situations such as this when he appears to not have enough power to charge in the ON position, this should fix your issue. Simply connect Zoomer to a power source (we always recommend using a desktop computer rather than a laptop), leave him turned OFF, and leave him plugged in for about an hour or two. Zoomer should get enough power to turn on and run around, and after this you should be absolutely fine charging Zoomer in the ON position as the Instructions suggest.

If going through these tips does not resolve your issue, don't worry! We can be reached at 1-800-622-8339.

When you call us, please have your toy with you so we are able to run through a few tips. We'll do everything we can to help you out!

nomad
nomad's picture

great post christie1975.you help many out here.

SJ
SJ's picture

Brilliant, we will try this if we have any other issues. Daughters birthday tomorrow and she has no idea I have this gift for her. She really wants one bless her. Thank you Christie for this information x

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