As robots become more automaton-like, at least in the sense of offering something akin to sentience, telepresence robots rise to the occasion. With screens the size of smart phones or even tablets, the RPD or Remote Presence Device has a human face -- the face of the operator. With RPDs, direct interaction is achievable from remote locations between communicants. Some are fixed units with the ability to articulate and adjust where they face such as the Revolve Robotics Kubi. There is the Segway doppelganger, Anybots QB, which can roll around an office or warehouse recording data and dispensing advice.
As these big bots cater to adult interests, why not a mini bot to interest the kids? The Romo Robotic Pet is a wee scrapper with much hard-to-curb appeal. Effectively a small iPhone tank with a cartoonish face, it offers educational as well as amusement potential. Romo is a programmable telepresence bot in which an iPhone is the mechanical interface, with the body, acting as the eyes and brains of its operation. For now, telepresence is supported only with iPhone 4 or 5, leaving Android in the lurch. The body is a sleek track base with rubber treads and an articulating mount that an iPhone plugs into, becoming the mobile platform for the iOS device and Romo software. It can function stand-alone or interface with another smart-type device for remote control. This is a clever little bot which offers an awful lot. It can roll about and shoot videos or stills, operate two-way audio and video and, owing to its diminutive proportion, go a lot of places. Its software incorporates scripts which include missions and programmable expansion capability. With facial recognition, autonomous mode, object follow and path tracking, the Romo Robotic Pet packs an abundance into a fun, compact package.
Kids can do a lot of fun stuff with it, and it was even a hit with our 5 year old niece.
This robot isn't cheap, but it would be worth it just for this one night, even if we never used it again. Yes, it can be a fun toy, but it's really much more.
This is going to make such a good Christmas gift! I'm more excited to play with this than my son will be, maybe.
Romo is an awesome toy for both adults and children. You can teach it how to do different things and experience different emotions! And our niece loves to play chase with it.