We've always thought that when robots would truly arrive, life would get better. Being a fan of Asimov and robots, we've been waiting for a long time. The wait isn't really over, but more and more, artificial intelligence and robots are making their presence felt in our everyday lives. It's true that robots like the ones found in science-fiction will take a long time to be made into reality, but slowly and surely, they will come. We just hope that we don't have to bow down to our robot masters! In this post, we'll present two of the most recent useful robots that we've encountered. They are both linked to webcams, making them really interesting.
Rovio Robot Sentry
No, this isn't out of Aliens, but Rovio is the real deal. He's a remote controlled robot sentry. He will roam around your house and keep robbers out. Rovio was furst announced at the CES 2008 conference and recently went on sale for about $300. It packs a 640 x 480 webcam to stream video live in MPEG4 format. It can also snap stills, head out on customized patrol routes and avoid obstacles thanks to its infrared sensor. The robot itself comes with a charging dock and some room beacons, making it easier for Rovio to get around your place.
You can also purchase more room beacons, thereby expanding Rovio's surveillance routes. You'll only need a few and he'll patrol your whole house. This is way better than simply having an operational webcam at home to keep an eye on things when you're gone. Best of all is that all of these images and vids can be directly uploaded to the web. You can also use an iPhone or iPod Touch to control your Rovio. You won't have to worry about security though. Rovio uses WEP encryption, the same type of encryption that is used on your home WiFi network.
But that's not the only use you can get out of him. You can use him as a way to Skype, chat or video chat online, by not being in front of you computer. You can rove around and talk, making Rovio follow you around, making video chats a lot more flexible. Rovio can also fold himself into a lower profile, making him inconspicuous when necessary.
Minoru Robot Webcam
This isn't really a robot, but it looks like one, and that's close enough for us! That being said, it doesn't stop Minoru from being useful. Minoru was designed in the UK to deliver a 3D internet experience. Basically, Minoru is a webcam that is cleverly molded to look like a cute alien robot. It uses two lenses to form a 3D image, something akin to wearing 3D glasses in movie theaters. Once again, you can use Minoru with chat services such as Skype, AIM and MSN. The device is able to take 3D photos as well as 3D videos. It's available for $90. [via DVice]