IBM TJBot, a Watson Maker Kit

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Have some fun coding your very own AI robot with TJBot, a do-it-yourself template to learn, experiment with and explore AI with IBM Watson. The project consists of open source step-by-step recipes, or coding instructions, designed for a Raspberry Pi to help you connect your TJBot to Watson developer services.

Born at IBM Research as an experiment to develop best practices in the design and implementation of AI and cognitive objects, TJBot is an example of "embodied cognition" --- the idea of embedding artificial intelligence into objects in our everyday lives. Want to have a conversation with TJBot or teach TJBot to dance or tell a joke? You can use featured TJBot recipes to teach your own TJBot these skills or create your own new recipes and share them with the world.

In this version of the TJBot kit, we include a laser-cut template to form the body of the Bot, LEDs, a microphone, the Raspberry Pi, micro SD card and wires to connect everything together. Also, this kit is only available for those in the United States and Canada. Sorry, world!

Note: A credit card may be required to access the TJBot's full function.

  • TJBot Laser Cut Cardboard
  • Raspberry Pi Model 3
  • 16GB NOOBS Card
  • USB Microphone
  • Speaker
  • Servo
  • LEDs
  • Wires
  • USB Cable

IBM TJBot, a Watson Maker Kit Product Help and Resources

Getting Started with TJBot

December 14, 2017

This post will walk you through setting up your TJBot and getting started with the first three recipe examples provided by IBM.

Core Skill: Robotics

This skill concerns mechanical and robotics knowledge. You may need to know how mechanical parts interact, how motors work, or how to use motor drivers and controllers.

2 Robotics

Skill Level: Rookie - You will be required to know some basics about motors, basic motor drivers and how simple robotic motion can be accomplished.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: DIY

Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.


Skill Level: Rookie - Basic hand tools are required and instructions will allow more freedom. You may need to make your own decisions on design. If sewing is required, it will be free-form.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • JetForMe / about 7 years ago / 1

    What do you need a credit card for? In-bot purchases?

  • Rob36 / about 7 years ago / 1

    " we include a laser-cut template to form the body of the Bot, LEDs, a microphone, the Raspberry Pi, SD Card, and wires to connect everything together"

    So which of these components does the USA government deem as too secret to export. The Leds? the Pi? (a british device), the SD card? The wire? Oh I know the microphone.

    Or is it just that its not suitable (size/shape) for sparkfun to ship?

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3 of 3 found this helpful:

TJBot - Just a box of cardboard until you get an IBM Cloud account?

Upon receipt of a $125 box of cardboard parts, I used the "getting started" link off of the Sparkfun site. The first step was to obtain a token/auth code from IBM's Watson cloud. Following the "getting started" steps, I got to a point where it said I would receive an email from the IBM TJBot group with the necessary links. THE EMAIL NEVER CAME. I opened an issue with the IBM TJBot site. Its been more and two weeks and have yet to receive a response from IBM. A couple of days after trying to get the credentals from IBM I opened an issue with Sparkfun Support. Thier response was that Sparkfun was only a supplier and any technical issues had to be resolved by IBM --- so me and my $125 box of cardboard is just collecting dust.

1 of 1 found this helpful:


The laser cut cardboard "folds" break apart when folded. I ended up 3D printing the parts.

Recommend just buying a raspberry pi and components separately.

Wonderful gift!

This was a wonderful gift as a Thank You! Everyone was excited to receive one, and some others even were envious!