As usual, the Consumer Electronics Show 2008 has brought an onslaught of hot gadgets. Here are a few videos of new robotic products expected to hit the market this year. A special star goes to WowWee for their Rovio telepresence bot which sounds and looks truly fantastic.
Rovio & Spykee for telepresence
I have a thing for robots in the home that allow you to control them via web. Last year I wrote about Spyke from Meccano; which has been renamed Spykee for reasons unknown. They’ve now showcased some new versions that look a bit better than the original one and have bluetooth and voice-control. Is it just me, or do those gaudy, plastic tubes make them seem to have an organic component?
I might as well mention that the new Spykee bots have garnered a few jokes due to their crotch-positioned iPod docks.
Then there’s the new Rovio from WowWee that really takes the cake. It looks a bit like a crossbreed of an AIBO and a cockroach (in a very good way!). This little guy is in my opinion the best product from WowWee yet. It has streaming video capabilities and a micro-GPS system to track its position.
The video and web-based controls speak for themselves, but the positioning system allows you to give it shortcut commands like “go to the kitchen” plus it can navigate to its charging station. The expected retail price is around $300.
I quite like the design and all in all, the Rovio has reached the top of my list for telepresence bots for the home. Here are a couple of others talking about Rovio and Spykee:
The flying BladeStar
I’m glad to see that WowWee is introducing some more advanced, less toy-like robots like the Rovio, but they’re still making stuff for kids as well. The new flying oddity of WowWee looks fun and I imagine I would’ve gone bonkers for it when I was younger. The employee doesn’t seem to afraid of having it scrape the wall, which hopefully means that it’s not extremely fragile.
I’m not going to discuss the several other toys from WowWee. Frankly they don’t interest me enough. But if you’re intrigued, here are a couple of sites that discuss them at length:
- Gear Diary gives a rundown of WowWee bot photos, prices and expected release dates
- Popular Science Blog at Typepad has a nice robot roundup for CES’08
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