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New Startup Romotive Turns Your Smartphone Into A Robot

December 1, 2011 | Hogan Keyser
November 30, 2011 by Peter Murray via -- How awesome is Romo the Smartphone Robot? Without knowing anything about it, you simply have to look at the robot's Kickstarter page. The pledge goal was $32,000. The robot has raised $114,796.

I'd say these guys are on to something.

The guys -- Peter Seid and Phu Nguyen -- have turned your smartphone into a robot. They've built a robotics platform that uses a smartphone for a brain to control a mobile, two-track base. Just attach your smartphone to the base, plug a cord into the earphone jack, download the apps, and using another smartphone, iPad, or computer to control it - you've got a robot! The guys are only just getting started, but already they've made a "Spy Robot" app that allows you to drive Romo around while seeing the world through the smartphone camera. It can track objects with a color tracking app. Another app turns Romo into a doodler. Just make your drawing on the smartphone touchscreen and Romo follows the pattern, driving around and turning your pixel drawing into a real one. You can also have a conversation with Romo, which makes sense since it has a phone for a head.

Seid and Nguyen's genius was to recognize that you don't have to build a robot from the ground up. With their self-admitted nerdyness, the two longed to create a functional robot but without the millions of dollars it takes to create the beast that is Honda's Asimo, they recognized that supercomputer robotic brains had already been built that are cheap and are everywhere. They built Romo and founded the company Romotive to build more.

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