Earlier this year, WowWee debuted its first practical (and really cool-looking) robot Rovio. The robot sports a complete mobile telepresence pack including camera, microphone, and speaker. It’s WiFi enabled and provides audio and video streams via a web interface it serves up over the internet. You can also control the robot over the internet and take advantage of some advanced navigational capabilities.
Rovio leverages Evolution Robotics’ NorthStar 2.0 system which is a clever navigational system based on following a light pattern projected on the ceiling–hence the North Star metaphor. With such a system, the robot can play back recorded routes very accurately.
Robot Central covered other telepresence robots as they try to move into the consumer mainstream.
Rovio will be generally available sometime in the summer and will sell for about $300. This will probably coincide with the release of iRobot’s ConnectR robot which is still in its pilot phase.