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Current Revolution Owner Question - Servos

This is a question for Revolution owners. I'm in China right now checking up on our factories. Boy is it ever a great experience! I've been here a few times throughout the last year, researching available products and manufacturing abilities of factories. There are quite a few factories and companies involved in the manufacturing of the product that you're using - this week was the first time we were able to demonstrate the completed product that they had been working on. This is because each factory works on a small part of the robot, so they have never seen the robot completely assembled and running... And they love it! I wish you could see the smiles on their faces:)

One of the companies manufacturers our servo. To keep the cost low and the strength high, we had to practically design a servo of our own. Yesterday I sat down with the owner and some of their engineers. We came up with a stronger servo with smart Digital Programming. The new experimental servo that we designed this week is very quite and only emits a quiet hum, which sounds very science fiction-like. Today we assembled a JD with the new servos to see how it performed. The strength is increased a little, but the audible noise is decreased dramatically. These new servos are very very quiet!

The only drawback to these servos is the manufacturing cost. Because they use higher precision gears, quieter motor, smoother bearings, and a highspeed microcontroller... the cost is much higher.

So the question I have for you existing users, is this.. Now that you have experienced Revolution, would you have paid more if the product included quieter volume digital servos over the current servos? Even if they operated functionally the same as the current EZR Servos?

Estimated MSRP of the products would be...
- JD would cost $599
- Six would cost $549
- Roli would cost $499

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Synthiam
#1  
Ironic you should mention this... noisy servos in general have always bugged me somewhat... I think this is what has kept me (in part anyway) from buying JD from you guys up until now. Just don't like a loud servo buzzing bot in general..

To me this is a no brainer. I would gladly pay more for the better servos... I assume you would also carry them separately in the store as well?...

You got my vote for the new servos and price bump:)

***Edit*** If you get a split response to this maybe you guys could consider offering the Revolution bots in 2 flavours... Regular and Pro versions... Those of us who order the pro version would get the upgraded servos and perhaps a few other minor bells and whistles... Just a thought...
United Kingdom
#2  
@DJ.

Good to hear you are enjoying your China trip. I second Richards post. Noisy/buzzing servos are a bugbear for me also, and would happily pay the extra beer tokens for something quieter. And the little extra increase in strength would also be a plus.

Like Richard said, "a no brainer" for me too. :D

Steve.
United Kingdom
#3  
If there was a choice between current JD in the store and quiet JD with a $100 difference I would pick the current, noisier one personally.

Personally speaking neither my Six nor JD make "too much" noise. Yes they make noise (six much less than JD however I haven't yet carried out the shoulder fix on JD) but the noise is not too much in my opinion.

The prices for the robots are already great and I am sure adding $100 to the prices wouldn't really put too many people off. They are great value if you consider the price of JD vs any other biped kit or pre-built robot.

But, purely looking at the servo buzz vs the cost of quieter servos, taking in to account the servos are not too noisy as is, I would say it isn't needed.
#4  
If it were me, I would do a regular and pro like Richard mentioned. I don't really mind the servo buzz, but if for some reason I didn't like it, I could upgrade.
PRO
Synthiam
#5  
That's great feedback. I don't think it will be financially and logistically possible to carry two versions of each robot. We already front $300,000 per batch of robots to be manufactured, plus inventory storage fees.

We do not have much of a markup - only enough to cover salaries and operational costs. Our goal is to keep the prices low for mass purchase accessibility.

I believe the question is limited to increase price or keep existing servos.
#6  
I hate to say it, but I think $100 more would cost you sales. It was already a tight squeeze for me only made possible because of your generous store credits for answering questions on the forum.

Another $100 and I would have had to choose between a development kit and Roli rather than getting both, and I would not have been happy with the choice.

That being said, the impression I get ia that thise buying JD seem to have more disposable income, and he is still competitive with other highly functional huminoid robots, so maybe just starting with JD (who is also the loudest due to the need to hold servo positions) would be a good compromise (and offer the quieter servos individually in the store so Roli and Six owners could upgrade down the line).

Alan
#7  
DJ, if this isnt offered in the robots themselves, would you still offer them for sale on your website as a DIY product?

To answer your question, I would have bought stronger and quieter servos in the ones bought for the school. The sound isn't that loud in the ones that I got, but the one that Nomad had would have driven me crazy. I would rather pay more for the insurance factor than take a chance that I will get a noisy servo.
#8  
I am with @d.cochran. Would it be possible to have them sold separately then or as an upgrade kit in the store?...
#9  
I would like to see them offered as an "upgrade" kit. I have been known to buy in low and then upgrade a few parts over time as my budget allows or as things break. If the only issue is noise, then I don't think I would pay $100 more just for it to be a little quieter when I use it. If it was an issue of precision, speed, and strength, then maybe I might buy the upgraded kit. Those things would have to put out some serious db's before I'd do it just for noise.
#10  
Us Roomba hackers are used to a bit of noise. The servo noise with the Revolution robots would not stop me from getting one but if there was a quieter servo in a higher grade model I would also consider upgrading.
Canada
#11  
Awesome feedback guys! Keep in mind that to even include these servos as accessories is a HUUUGE initial invesement for the hope that it's returned.

@Alan, keep in mind that we are not a "limited time only" company ;-) you would have been able to purchase a ROLI or a Developer Kit from us in the future easily.

You guys are obviously very crucial to us as our early adopters and specifically you have the time and talent and know-how to maximize these robots, quiet servos or not, but when you consider ezrobot as a company you know our aspirations in education and retail, we do need to appeal to mass markets. This growth will enable us to invest further into the development and expansion of our platform to keep being leaders! Taking that into consideration, do you think that this price and performance change would make our product more appealing in comparison to the current model?
#12  
As time and inventory pass, accessories may be an area of opportunity that could very well gain popularity with Revolution bot owners as well as robotic hackers.
#13  
Personally, I do, but I dont know that others will think the same way. In comparing EZ-Robots to other robots from other companies, these are a huge bargain. I dont think that a $100 increase in price would put you out of the market. It would bring you closer to the price point of your competition.
#14  
I like having a choice... You guys have made it clear that carrying 2 types of servos maybe too costly. Totally understand and get that... I also do understand in order to grow you have to be very price conscious and keep EZ Robot "easy to use" so the noobs will adopt... I know you guys want to capitalize on this huge un tapped market... However, from where I sit I want more advanced features and materials (which includes the servos DJ mentioned)... and I am willing to pay for them... So I am hoping we can have the best of both worlds... I agree with @d.cochran EZ Robot is a real bargain compared to other robotic platforms....
#15  
I would prefer the quiet stronger servos. JD's torso servos are very noisy, pretty much the only flaw of the robot.
#16  
While you are there, light a fire under the Roil assembly crew.
#17  
Im also use to noisy servos. I use digital servos in model airplanes and they always make noise, no biggy.
PRO
Belgium
#18  
dj no video ?
the possebility to by them separt in store here is great idea.
a video how it sound the new servo would be great for avery one to hear,
what is drastic less audio means.