great robots & toys
from the space age

Butler Bot

Butler Bots in various modes

Maximilian the Butler Bot is an interactive two wheeled robot which balances itself by means of a gyro. The Butler Bot takes 4 AA batteries, and the remote takes 3 AA batteries. The Butler Bot comes packaged in a demonstration box allowing him to introduce himself when you press his bow tie. The instruction sheet recommends replacing these demonstration batteries with real ones. Batteries are not included for the remote. Both battery compartments require a very small Phillips (cross head) screwdriver, not included. This used to be known as a jeweller's screwdriver. They are inexpensive, easily obtainable and a good investment as many robots use a similar screw design, and it's very easy to strip the screw or round out the hole so that the battery cover won't stay closed. This generally happens from using too large or the wrong kind of screwdriver.

There is an off/ on switch on the back of the robot's head. Switch this on and Butler Bot's eyes and bow tie flash red. He deploys a stabilizer near the left wheel, enabling him to stand without falling over. Turn on the switch on the remote. It will pair with the robot up to ten feet away. The power LED on the remote blinks red. Once paired, the power LED  stops blinking and stays red. Butler Bot's eyes turn green. He retracts his stabilizer, rolling back and forth to maintain balance, while waiting for orders. The charts below show the buttons on the remote, and the color of Butler Bot's bowtie and eyes in various modes.

Butler Bot includes a tray for the Butler mode, which can hold items up to 4 ounces. However, they can only be about one inch tall, as they cannot block his infrared sensor. The instructions recommend placing and removing objects carefully so as not to cause the robot to fall over. If he does, he yells "Ouch!", lowers his stabilizer and his eyes turn red. In some cases (like falling off a table), he may need to be turned off and back on again to re-pair with the remote. If he encounters an obstacle, he turns around and goes the other way.

Another mode which uses the infrared sensor is "Follow Me". He will rotate searching for the remote, and when found, move toward it. The remote must be line of sight. The instruction sheet adds that the remote ought not to be higher than three feet off the floor, and that flourescent lights may interfere with this function (because they blink on and off).  Sunlight can also affect the sensor.

The "Wait" mode is for use in shutting down Butler Bot. In this mode, his bow tie turns off, he stops, and deploys the stabilizer. In this mode, three things can happen: 1. he can be shut down by turning the switches on Butler Bot and the remote to 'off'; 2. If his infrared sensor detects movement, he shakes, sings, and goes into 'Standby' mode; 3.  If he doesn't receive orders within one minute, he will deploy his stabilizer, and his bow tie and eyes will turn blue. After 2.5 minutes, he will go into the sleep mode. He will need to be switched off and back on to wake up, and paired with the remote again.

Pressing and holding the red "Record" button causes Butler Bot to speak and then beep. After the beep you can speak a message of up to 10 seconds. Release the button when finished recording. Now, whenever you push the button, Butler Bot will play the message. Recording a new message erases the earlier one, and the message is erased when he is turned off.

colors indicate Butler Bot mode

Butler Bot Remote controls

Butler Bot Box v1
Butler Bot box v2

Above: Two of the various demonstration box designs. The tray on the Butler Bot in the right box bears no resemblance to that depicted on the box. The Butler Bot is shown carrying very light things, like two dice side by side or a few gumdrops. The box at right is labelled "Copyright Sharper Image 2018. MerchSource LLC. Made in China."

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