The most recent robot controlled by a smartphone is the Automated Music Personality (AMP) robot launched by OLogic. AMP is a two-wheeled, self-balancing robotic music player that can only be operated by an Android smartphone. OLogic has plans of shipping the robot for around $400 or less. Techy savvy people see the price as incredibly low for a self-balancing robot like the AMP.
The manufacturing company of the AMP robot is currently self-funded, and it is searching for funding to be able to establish efficient distribution channels to release AMP into the market. AMP has a powerful audio system placed in its chest, a cup holder, a cradle in the back for the music player, and several command buttons for controlling functions like volume. If you use your Android phone or the remote control, you will be able to manipulate the robot. You can make it dance or stream music through Bluetooth.
OLogic is expecting to add more features such as the ability to place an iPad in exchange of the AMP head to make the telepresence robot more affordable and accessible.
But AMP is certainly not the first robot to be controlled by a smartphone.
Last August, the Eager Co. Ltd. of Japan announced its plans of selling the Telenoid R1 telepresence robot in October. This weird product of Japan’s technology is a toddler-sized, ghastly-looking robot that is intended to become a physical stand-in for a remote user while having internet communication. The Telenoid R1 mirrors a person’s movements through real-time face tracking software on the computer installed in it. The voice of the robot comes out from the device as well. Freaky.
After Telenoid R1 came Elfoid P1, which was unveiled during a press conference held in Japan last September. This one is a shrunken mobile version of the creepy bot. Elfoid is a mobile phone and mini telepresence robot rolled into one. The two robots were designed by Hiroshi Ishiguro, a robotics expert at the Osaka University in collaboration with the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR).
A more normal-looking robot introduced to the public was LG’s Hom-Bot (RoboKing as called in the US). Hom-Bot has Smart ThinQ technology that enables the robot to interact with an Android or iPhone application. You can watch a live video feed from the built-in camera. It’s technically a vacuum cleaner, and this pricey little cleaning device costs around $710-995 US or €500-700. That’s pretty ridiculous for folks who just want a vacuum cleaner for their house, and even tech geeks would find it tough to justify spending almost a thousand bucks on it.