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Robotics in the Home

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted November 20, 2012

Either The Jetsons or Battlestar Galactica may one day be proven right, but probably not both. But that’s likely a long way away—in the meantime, consumer robotics is taking up an increased role within the household.

Bossa Nova Robotics has unveiled a development platform for personal robots called the Ballbot, while Romotive has introduced the Romo, a $150 smartphone robot featuring wheels, a camera, and an iPhone brain.

From CIO Today:

“Everyone is looking for the next (Sony) Aibo,” says tech analyst Rob Enderle, referring to the popular pet robot in Japan that was discontinued in 2006. “The potential is in the billions for the right product.”

Bossa Nova’s Ballbot is basically a development platform that people or companies could use to program personal robots and their interactions with people on an everyday basis.

Romotive’s take on the personal robot is more or less a robotic remote-controlled car; it uses the iPhone for top-down control.

Romotive recently received $5 million in capital funding from noted VC firm Sequoia Capital. For now, the Romo is mostly an entertaining distraction with some interesting uses—parents can use the mobile device to keep an eye on their kids throughout the house, for example.

Irobot (NASDAQ: IRBT), makers of the Roomba, recently acquired Evolution Robotics for $74 million. Evolution made the Mint, an automatic floor washer and cleaner.

And to top out the “outlandish” category, ABB (NYSE: ABB) has a robot on display in a Parisian hotel lobby that purports to interpret dreams through paintings. Freud would have much to say about that, no doubt.