For the past month and days I’ve been volunteering part of my “free” time to build and improve Romibos. Romibo is a cute little furry robot developed with the intention of helping autistic childs to improve their social skills by Origami Robotics, one more startup spun out of the CMU fertile gene pool.
Different from all the previously developed robot pets, Romibo will be affordable, programmable, controllable with an iPad, and as it runs on an Arduino, open source… you can even make it whistle like R2. So if the product generates enough buzz, we’ll see some of those awesome hacks the maker community usually amazes us with.
It seems that over the past months the little furry guys have developed great interest in the scientific community as they present a very flexible (and affordable) platform to perform research on autistic children. Because of such interest, Origami is planning on sellling dev kits for scientists and research centers and sepparately, kits to parents and to the general public.
The first version may be available pretty soon for around $700. They are expensive and they know it, but the first orders, mainly intended for research centers and universities, will (hopefully) generate enough cash flow to develop the commercial available kits for the general public, which will probably have a target price of around $200.
Kids loving the Romibos at the NY Maker Faire 2012
On my side, I'm already savouring my own home-made hack to my Romibo. Maybe adding a webcam and tweaking the Wifi card to upload stuff (like pics of your
You can learn more about Romibo at Origami Robotics, and also in this short article by Engadget, where you’ll be able to see my own Romibo in action, it’s the naked one (of course)!