Back in the 1982, Heathkit released the HERO 1 educational robot. HERO 1 had a Motorola 6808 CPU and 4k of RAM on board. He came equipped with motion, light, sound and sonar ranging sensors. You could even add an optional arm attachment and max out his capabilities.
Taking a cue from the success of the HERO 1, Heathkit’s consumer division released a simplified version, the HERO Jr – with half the ram of it’s predecessor and a lower pricepoint. Later still, the expandable, speech capable HERO 2000 was released to the educational market. By far the most advanced iteration, the 2000 would be the last training robot released by the company. That is until now – Heathkit is planning to release a reincarnation of HERO, the HE-RObot:
Popular Science explains –
Built on a Mini-ITX mobo with Intel Core Duo microprocessor and using Windows XP for its operating system (unlike the model 914 PC-BOT which can be outfitted with Ubuntu), HE-RObot is being built and priced towards the educational market. A market that sorely needs a sophisticated robot platform. The hobbyist DIY market, on the other hand, could suffer from sticker shock. The HE-RObot’s 914 PC-BOT counterpart is priced from $5,000 – $8,000 which could make the HE-RObot a tough sell to even the most rabid roboticist.
Detailed HERO History on Robotgallery.com – Link
Check out Donnie V. Savage’s site for a bunch of relevant build info – Link
Heathkit schematic diagram archive – Link