Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Immersing into a robot

Just before christmas a new toy has arrived, the rovio robot. It really does look frightning (though the developers designed it to let hard working parents remotely communicate with their kids at home...)

Actually, it's not really a robot it's rather a remote controlled toy. The rather limited autonomous features, such as 'go home to base' or 'follow path' do not work that well (see also reviews at amazon).
However, it's funny to walk through a shared office space late at night spying on who's still there. The exciting part also is, that the other one doesn't see who's currently controlling the robot (showing it could also be a nice feature though). You really start immersing into the robot while controlling it through the web-interface. You learn the dimensions of the robot know what you can pass and what you can't. Navigation in the dark is rather poor, but luckily we our office lights react on motion. Another exciting part are colleagues the get annoyed and carry the robot away (which corresponds to 'tele-porting' in computer games) and you have to find your way back again to the base station - hopefully, before rovio runs out of battery.
Despite it's limited functionality and it's current flaws Rovio is really fun.

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