In science fiction, it seems that just about everybody has a personal robot assistant. Wether it’s Luke Skywalker and his astromech pal R2-D2, George Jetson and his robot maid Rosie, or Buck Rogers and his sidekick Twiki, little robot buddies seem to be the way of the future. And now, thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign, anyone with an iPhone can have his or her own personal robot pal.
“Romo” is not just the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. It’s also the name of the robot brainchild of Romotive, a company that was able to raise over $150,000 through Kickstarter to create this pint-sized robot assistant.
The little guy consists of an iPhone docking station on a 4.5-inch wheel base and can be controlled by an iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone or Web browser. The smart device sends instructions to Romo, commanding him to dance around, shoot videos, talk to your Facebook friends and act coy around strangers.
This robot was just the beginning for Romotive, however. Recently, the company raised more than $5 million from Sequoia Capital, and is planning to roll out Romo in the Neiman Marcus holiday catalogue. The development team moved from a 2,000 square foot facility in Las Vegas where they churned out robots by hand to a manufacturing plant in China where they will be able to make 2,000 Romos a week. For the future, the company plans to let developers create apps for Romo, making him fully customizable.
“There’s a lot of things people dismiss right away as a toy because they don’t dream what the capabilities are,” said Alfred Lin of Sequoia Capital. “The first personal computer and the first iPhone, people saw both as toys.”
Edited by Rachel Ramsey