What is it?
Romo is an affordable, personal, and trainable robot that uses an iPhone or iPod as its ‘face’ and ‘brain’. The device itself is basically a set of track wheels that gives your iPhone the ability to drive around and explore on its own! Once you download the free Romo app on your device, Romo’s friendly face appears, and your quirky little friend will come to life. The Romo will respond to your face, chase an object, roam around the house and connect with your family and friends.
Why is it awesome?
Romo is an engaging piece of technology that allows the user to grow and learn with it. It provides its ‘owner’ with challenges, upgrades, and endless opportunity to play. Romo is awesome because it brings robotics and programming to the average person and especially to younger generations.
As you play with your Romo, it will learn and grow, and new actions will unlock, allowing you to further interact with your new friend. Its functionally takes a little getting used to, but as you teach it different moves and actions, you can get it to do impressive tasks. It uses device-optimized computer vision to make the robot smarter. You can train it to chase a ball using tracking recognition, but then, once fully trained, Romo can even learn to recognize different coloured objects. Romo will also learn facial recognition!
The Romo also comes with a telepresence feature. Want to know what your kids are up to while you are out of town? You can call your Romo remotely, from anywhere in the world and video chat with family or friends using FaceTime functionality. But, then the Romo takes that functionality one step further. While you are chatting, you can control your Romo’s movement remotely. Romo is the first device to bring robotic engineering and telepresence to the mass market, a feature that could prove to be a game changer in the years to come.
How will it change the world?
Romo has the ability to change the world by making robotic engineering accessible to everyone. At first glance, Romo is just a robotic toy, but when you take a deeper look, it is a device that is both ground-breaking and educational. The device shows a potential in an industry that people haven’t really had a chance to engage with personally, until now.
Romo also connects people in a way that we haven’t really seen before. Now, grandparents can play and interact with their grand-children, even with thousands of miles between them. A working parent can follow their kids around during their bedtime routine while away on business. Romo’s face has a variety of expressions and emotional states, as well as responses to touch. Tickle Romo and it will react! Its eyes will follow an object as well as a face, and its head will tilt up and down to get a better view. Romo’s development of a personality, coupled with its technological advancements, has created a more human element to robotics and our wireless devices.
A look at patents filed by major tech companies like Google and Apple, show that devices like Romo, are providing greater flexibility to professionals who operate remotely. A doctor, for example, could do rounds remotely with a robotic assistant equipped with a video conference UI. This functionality could also help areas that are in the midst of a natural disaster or pandemic, allowing doctors to save lives even when they aren’t able to reach the patients. This technology has the ability to make the future generations think about robotics in a new light, and it proves that there is still innovation left in technology.
Romo is the first step for mass market robotics, a step that could prove to be a huge leap, not just for the tech industry but for all industries in the years to come.