I bought my first Boe-Bot over 10 years ago. I’ve dropped it, stepped on it, even lost it behind the couch for three months. Nothing seems to faze this thing.

The Boe consists of an aluminum frame, upon which two servomotors, a battery holder, and a BASIC Stamp 2 microcontroller board are mounted.

Over the years Parallax has developed numerous add-ons. One I like best is the servo-operated gripper, which makes the Boe-Bot look like a nasty pincher bug. The gripper can lift small objects like chess pieces and ping pong balls, but it won’t fetch a beer — unless it’s a very small beer from a very short fridge.

Suitable for first-time builders, the Boe-Bot takes about 2 hours to build. The gripper kit requires a bit more skill; plan on another hour. Other nifty accessories include a six-legged walker kit and an infrared line-following module.

Gordon McComb has been building robots since the 1970s and wrote the bestselling Robot Builder’s Bonanza. You can read his plans to take over the world with an army of mind-controlled automatons, along with other musings, at

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