Romo Kickstarter project turns your mobile device into a robot
At this point in time I think we’re past the point where we’re wondering if Skynet is going to happen and are instead wondering what product will eventually make the leap. Maybe it’ll be a mixture; Siri’s voice recognition, Google’s information access, and Facebook’s personal information database. If that’s the case, I think I just found the thing that’ll give Skynet mobility – the Romo. It’s a Kickstarter (crowd funding site) project that aims to mass produce a robotic base that will host a mobile device to act as its brain and allow it to move around and perform various tasks.
Most of the magic of the Romo happens in software. The base is basically just a pair of motorized belts that are controlled with audio signals from a host device. Since you only need some very simple commands to controlt he motors, such an audio interface is both simple and very universal. While the project creators initially aim for Android and iOS apps, there’s nothing hardware-wise stopping this from working on anything that can fit on the base, emit audio signals, and run apps.
Three apps are planned initially. The first lets you remote control the Romo using another mobile device and also interface with the camera to give the robot eyes. The second app is essentially a real life version of Mario Kart, where you race against your friend and gain virtual power ups which can disable the other players’ Romos if used correctly. The third is a programmable mode that uses drag and drop programming elements to allow anyone to program the Romo to do things like walk your…eh…hamster, bring you a soda or take over the world navigate a maze.
The project is looking for $32000 in funding and have already reached that goal with 41 days to go. To get your own Romo sometime around February of next your you’ll have to pledge $78, with additional options available including one that will get a limited edition Romo into your hands by Christmas.[Kickstarter]