Heathkit reincarnates the Hero robot

Last updated Dec 25, 2007 — 15270 views

Heathkit, which produced and sold mobile robots aimed at hobbyists and students back in the 1980s, is about to reenter the educational robot business. Heathkit’s new “HE-RObot” incorporates an onboard computer running Windows XP Professional on a Core 2 Duo Processor.

Heathkit’s 21st Century “HE-RObot”

Key HE-RObot features and specs listed by Heathkit include:

  • Employs industry standard PC hardware and software
  • Embedded mini-ITX PC compatible motherboard with Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • Runs Windows XP Professional
  • Host computer or Web server capabilities
  • Built-in 80GB hard drive
  • Logitech webcam
  • CD-ROM / CD-RW combo drive
  • USB “Machine Management Module” (M3)
  • Ultra bright LED headlights
  • Multiple IR sensors
  • Computer bay speakers
  • Size — 21 inches high
  • Weight — 55 pounds
  • Navigation controlled manually (mouse or keyboard) or by joystick (attached or wireless)
  • Autonomous mobility capabilities

Inside the HE-RObot
(Click image for a larger, annotated photo)

Heathkit claims the HE-RObot “sets the standard again and brings the robot back into the classroom.” According to the company, the robot “provides students the opportunity to learn the components and circuitry of robotics with the most ‘user-friendly’ and technologically smart robot available for classrooms today.”

The HE-RObot was developed by White Box Robots, a small, six-year-old subsidiary of Canada-based Frontline Robotics Inc. Heathkit and White Box Robotics announced on December 12 that they had concluded a “multi-year strategic agreement” whereby Heathkit would sell a version of White Box’s PC-BOT. According to the announcement, “Heathkit will produce, manufacture, and distribute an educational version of the [PC-BOT] to be known as the HE-RObot.”


Heathkit does not list availability information on its website at this time, but one of the listed distributors told us that the robot itself is available now, and the educational courses will be available in January or February of 2008. Further details may be found on Heathkit’s website.

7 responses to “Heathkit reincarnates the Hero robot”

  1. earthpages says:

    If it doesn’t clean the house I don’t need it!

  2. truthseeker1234 says:

    Thank God that the robot uses Windows XP and not Windows Vista in it’s current state. If they had made the critical mistake of putting Windows Vista into one of those robots we’d currently be living in a situation akin to one of the Terminator movies.

  3. txbluebonnet says:

    This is sooooo awesome! I remember my Dad making things from Heathkits decades ago. Wouldn’t it be awesome to learn to make a robot??? I would do it.

    Notice you didn’t mention a thing about the price though…. 🙂

  4. avantguy says:

    $6,800.00 for the White Box Robotics PC-BOT. Ouch.

  5. Havok says:

    Meh – Whitebox Robotics is vaporware, I’m sure we never see this happen. Although, I truly hope it does come to fruition. Hopefully, if it does, it is documented like the Heathkit of old. We’ll see…

  6. James Bruton says:

    Hardly vapourware when the robot is available now and lots of people already own the White Box Robotics 914 PC-Bot. Check out http://www.914pcbots.com/community for more info – especially the ‘Enthusiast Projects’ section that shows a bunch of hardware mods / hacks and software people have written.