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September 27, 2007 / TildeWill

Speaking of things I want

Today, all the buzz is about iRobot’s ConnectR. This from the people that brought us the vacuum robot that bumps into stuff and uses fancy algorithms to determine a decent cleaning patterns. What you may not know is that they also make robots to mop your floors, clean your pool, and sweep out your gutters.

The ConnectR is different though. It doesn’t do your household chores, it connects you to a remote location by giving you a little Roomba you can drive via the internets. It’s equipped with a camera that tilts so you can see, and it has a speaker and a mic so you can hold conversations with the people you’re with.

Features missing (and I hope they’ll add before the 2008 release):

  • Camera pole – it’d be nice to have the camera at eye level instead of “up-skirt” level. Then again, it might just be nice if the eye-level pole was adjustable *wink* *nudge*
  • Screen for your face, or something else. What good is it if I can see you, but you can’t see me? Ok there’s a ton of spy applications, but if you’re going to “connect” with someone, ya got to see them, period.
  • Record – One of the things I hate about life is that you can’t record every second of it. But here you could. Ah technology.
  • Hackability – iRobot is usually pretty hack friendly, wanting to see what customers do with their roombas. They even went so far as to release a product called Explorer that is designed to be programmed and stuff. As of yet I see no indication that the ConnectR will be an open platform.

I’ve signed up to be a tester. I hope they pick me, but not being part of a family or having pet I’m not sure they’ll find me to be a good candidate. What I really want to try out is giving fencing lessons remotely. I’m in Indiana, but a high school in Jersey wants a guest instructor… that kind of thing. It’d be hard to show the action I want, but then as a coach in a group class, I don’t often do a lot of body actions that an advanced fencer couldn’t show the class for me.

EDIT: For a homebrew project that accomplishes a smilar task see http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2007/09/dude_sends_robot_replacem.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890

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