We had a wail of a time at CES 2008, but we were not the only ones. The various robots on display were also going nuts at the convention. We have rounded them all up in this excellent video, showing you the neat robotics that we thought were worthy of a video shout out. Hit the clip to see them in action, and then read on for a full breakdown of all the droids featured.
From first viewed to last viewed:
• Mr. Clock Radio by Geewiz Entertainment ($99.99), is primarily an alarm clock radio. However, it does have a line-in jack, making it usable as a personal speaker set. It also has some three-hundred different wake-up message (half are aggressive, half are charming), and a fun/pointless "fortune telling" mode. The price is a little steep for the basic tech it implements, (flashing lights, portable speakers and pre-recorded messages), but we can't help loving the guy for his fantastic witticisms. [Geewiz Entertainment]
• Comprehensive Robot Kit by Bioloid ($869.00), one of the most complete and versatile robotics kits we saw on display at CES '08. The Comprehensive Robot Kit is really a a super-glorified Lego kit. It comes with various robotic bits'n'bobs, including IrDA receivers for dual robot communication, microphones for sound detection, luminosity detectors, piezo-electric speakers, essential battery packs and a full software suite for programmable characteristics in your robot's behavior, all via your PC. At this price, the kit is strictly an educational tool or for serious enthusiasts. [Bioloid Comprehensive Kit]
• Wrex the Dawg by WowWee ($TBA), has three emotional modes (happy, sad and angry), 14-motors for movement and a remote control for general locomotion. Expected to ship this Spring; if Wrex's quirky styling does not have reaching for your wallet, perhaps his mechanized wagging tail will? [WowWee]
• Tribot by WowWee ($99.99), is the robot that will replace the much loved Robosapien. The Tribot comes pre-loaded with a series of games that rely on the user to position the bot in various different orientations, it has three wheels that allow it to have a wide range of movements, a motion sensing controller that allows for Wii-esque navigation and it will hit the shops this summer. [WowWee]
• iRobiQ by Yujin Robot has been doing the rounds since CES 2007. It is a home information service that is able to display the news, weather, cooking recipes, photos, videos and sing some karaoke if you get bored. All this information goodness is displayed on a 7-inch LCD screen, but the iRobiQ also accepts voice commands for various jobs, like sending images to a cellphone, ordering a room to be cleaned by pairing with a Roomba type device and even read books that are stored on its central server. The iRobiQ, at present, has no US distributor, so do not expect it to ship anytime soon. [Yujin Robot; Korean link, via Tech Digest]
• E1 by Roboware ($1,500), recognizes set voice commands via a Bluetooth headset, connects to your network to transmit pictures captured via the on board camera, which it can also display on its tiny LCD screen and boasts bi-pedal motion, generated by a ton of different joints. At present, it is not ready for shipping, as the engineers are working out the bugs in the system. The final model will come with a full software suite, as well as an online developers community that will be launched along side the bot. Roboware hopes to ship the E1 by March, and envisions a truly malleable robot that can be completely defined by its users. [Company website is not live at present]
• Zeno by David Hanson (concept stage); we have covered Zeno an awful lot here at Giz, but the creepy bot was displaying his moves at CES '08, still in prototype stages. Zeno did not look so horrific in the real "frubber," but he still made us a little unsettled. Zeno will be able to talk, recognize faces and detect specific sounds, as well as be user upgradeable via an online community, with which Zeno can remain wirelessly connected thanks to the inbuilt support for Wi-Fi connectivity. [Hanson Robotics]
• FemiSapien by WowWee ($TBA), the FemiSapien is coined as Robosapien's girlfriend, and when the two interact, hilarious girlfriend/boyfriend rifts take place. The Femisapien is able to control Robosapien, but not visa versa. The female bot will be able to dance, move, sing and carry out a range of movement like her out-dated boyfriend. We are not sure the robot god approves of them living in sin, but we did not see them romp. However, if Robosapien carries on acting like this (VERY NSFW), we are sure robot god will be most displeased. Expect the FemiSapien to ship this summer. [Robots Rule]
That's the best of the robots we uncovered at CES '08. It looks like it is going to be a great year for fans of this genere of toys, but Sony, if you are reading, we wouldn't mind Aibo joining in the festivities at some point. Until then folks, there should be more than enough here to tide you over.