What is a Penguin Robot?

A penguin robot is a type of hobbyist robot made by Parallax Inc. It is a 4 inch (10 cm) robot that comes in a kit that requires roughly three hours to assemble. It gets its name from its bipedal and vaguely penguin-like shape as well as its mode of motion, which resembles the walking motion of a penguin.
The penguin robot is designed for robot hobbyists and does not come with preprogrammed behaviors and is not intended as a child’s toy. In order for the robot to move, it requires specific programming from a knowledgeable robot enthusiast. Parallax does supply some programming routines that users can enter into the robot, and there are robot hobbyists who have created programs for the penguin robot that are available on the Internet.

One of the distinguishing features of the penguin robot is its feet. It walks using a pair of servos using a tilt-stride action in which the robot leans to one side in order to lift one foot off the ground, which allows that foot to then move forward. The penguin robot can also turn by moving its feet in opposite directions. The robot can walk on most hard surfaces but struggles on most carpets.

The penguin robot’s microprocessor is based on the BS2PX24 module. Its processor speed is 32 MHz Turbo, and it has a program execution speed roughly 19,000 instructions per second. The robot has 38 bytes of RAM and 128 Bytes of scratchpad RAM. This enables it to have an EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) that is capable of storing roughly 4,000 instructions. The processor uses the PBasic programming language.

The penguin robot also features a variety of input and output devices that increase its overall functionality. It has a pair of photoresistors that enable it to either follow or avoid light. Its Hitachi HM55B Digital Compass sensor enables the robot to know its orientation in relation to the cardinal directions. The robot also features an infrared receiver and two infrared emitters that allow the robot to detect objects. The robot also has a piezospeaker that enables it to emit sounds.

In addition to these devices, the robot also has several features designed to make it easy for robot hobbyists to use. It has a seven-segment blue LED, which is for feedback, as well as a blue LED power indicator. An FTDI 232RL mini USB programming port enables users to download software for the robot from a PC. There also is an expansion port that allows users to add new input and output devices to the robot.