Unit Dunn Visits Robot Village, New York’s Robot Store

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We sent Intern Brian Dunn over to Robot Village, New York’s only store dedicated entirely to robots. He returned mostly unscathed.

Robot Village has been operating out of New York’s Upper West Side since 2004. It’s a one-of-a-kind store—its opening prompted the Yellow Pages to add a new “Robots” category. The store is either the beginnings of mankind’s harmonious future with our mechanical brethren or a site of future agony during the inevitable robot revolution.

Robot Village carries a wide selection of robot-related goods, everything from novelty items like “Robot Vision” kaleidoscopes to high-tech toys like Pleo and i-SOBOT. It also has resources for building your own robots, including kid-friendly kits such as the RobotiKits line and more advanced ones such as Vexplorer and the LEGO Mindstorms NXT.

And if you really want to get your hands dirty, they carry microcontrollers, motors, sensors, and other parts to build your own robot with. In addition to their wares, they offer classes on robot building for both children and adults.

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They have a demonstration table, with a variety of robots laid out for the customers’ personal enjoyment.

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Note the stack of R2s.

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The workshop is a bit cluttered, but everyone knows that’s a sign of quality. Organization hampers inventiveness.

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I finished my visit with a lively robot battle against Rob, the technician in residence. These little bots go very fast and smash into each other.

For more photos of the place, you can check out my entire Flickr set.

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4 Responses to Unit Dunn Visits Robot Village, New York’s Robot Store

  1. David Carroll says:

    Wow this place looks just like the first computer store I ever entered except the shelves were stocked with Apple ][ clones and Vic 20′s. It was also the first store of it’s kind in my city.

    I fully expect robotics to end up like computers: Just another indispensable thing that everyone has. Now how can I get in on the ground floor and end up like Paul Allen?

  2. lia says:

    I used to live in the neighborhood when they opened and paid them a visit, I was totally convinced they wouldn’t last the year because they’re in a basement space on a street with no real foot traffic. Glad to be proven wrong!

  3. License Farm says:

    I applied to work for Robot Village a little over two years ago, inspired by a BoingBoing post about them. I didn’t get the gig, but I did help hawk their wares around the corner in front of Zabar’s just before Christmas, dressed in a white lab coat. Thing is, I transformed into a carnival barker and delivered a spiel at the top of my lungs. The other street vendors got pissed that they couldn’t compete and were practically plotting my demise.

    The owner, David Greenbaum, is good people, and can often be seen in the neighborhood on a “tandem” bike shared with a robot.

  4. dculberson says:

    Totally sweet. I should open the first robotics store in Columbus, Ohio. Or maybe move to the sticks and open one. (I know, I know, “Columbus isn’t the sticks?”)

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