About this project
WE ARE FUNDED!! ROMOS FOR EVERYONE!
Howdy all! Updated info on device compatibility and other specs is up on our website. Check it out!
Greetings! We're Romotive, a team of nerds building the world's first robot for everyone.
We came to Kickstarter last fall to make the robots we always dreamed of when we were kids. And thanks to you, we DID.
We spent 4 crazy months constructing 2,000 Romos by hand.
The first 100 went out before Christmas, in boxes stuffed with candy canes. The next 1,900 went out in batches as we learned how to build them here in our apartment in Las Vegas.
But as we were building your Romos, we kept obsessing over how we could make the robot even better. We listened to your feedback and we went back to the drawing board.
We wanted to make Romo smarter, faster, and easier to use.
Since then, we've put together a team of brilliant nerds and worked our butts off to build you a new robot.
Together we redesigned the robot from the circuitboard up. That was the easy part.
Then we set up our production line in China. That was the HARD part. But more on how to set up manufacturing later...
After months of wrangling a production development schedule and working through design, material, logistics, supply chain, and testing issues, we hit tool start and began to test prototype robots.
Here are 3 actual robots that came off the production line during our EP1 (engineering prototype 1) phase.
We're super proud of our all new robot.
This next-gen Romo is *almost* everything a personal robot should be. He’s cute, responsive, and really fast, but he’s still not capable of doing all that stuff you see in the movies.
That’s why we’re back on Kickstarter.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Now that we’ve got a bigger/faster/stronger robot, we need your help to develop software that will make him even better.
We've created great basic apps for Romo, and he's super fun to play with.
But we have a bigger vision. We want to create really advanced software that lets Romo do the things robots do in the movies.
Right now, there’s no wallet-friendly, backpack-sized consumer robot on the market that does these things:
- Remote 2-way telepresence
- Computer vision
- Autonomous navigation
- Facial recognition
We want to change that, and we need your support.
Your pledge funds the development of these features, which we'll release in updated apps.
We'll also wrap an SDK around each of these functions so other developers can create their own apps and share them with you.
WHAT YOU GET
With a pledge of $150, you will be one of the first to receive a brand new, next generation Romo.
You're our beta testers. Tell us what you think of features we've toiled over like the all new tilt mechanism.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET GOING
Romo is a BYOD robot (bring your own devices). We've made him easy to operate using a wide variety of iDevices.
Dock any one of these babies on your mobile robotic base:
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4S
- iPod Touch 4th Generation
Drive your Romo using one of the following:
- iPod Touch 3rd Generation and up
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 3GS
- iPad 2
- New iPad
- any Mac computer running OS 10.6 or later
- Web browsers including any version of Chrome (Google), Safari (Apple), and Firefox (Mozilla)
We're back on Kickstarter because we want to put our robot into the hands of hackers, creatives, and robot nerds before anyone else.
This robot is your sandbox. Together we can make the robot-for-everyone dream a reality.
Q: You keep calling Romo a "he." Is this robot a boy?
A: Yes. Our new robot progeny is male. However, we plan a female version of Romo next, code name "Julia."
Q: Your first robot supported Android, but this one says "iDevice." What's the deal?
A: We asked our engineering team if they would support Android again and they ran screaming. No seriously, it was taking us a ton of time to support various Android platforms, so we decided to focus on Apple devices for initial development. There are Android devotees among us though, so plans are in the works.
Q: Does this Romo work with an iPhone 5?
A: Yep, well, sort of. Our new Romo can be controlled by an iPhone 5 running our app - but use an older device with the 30 pin dock connector on the robotic base. We're designing the next robot to use the new Lightning connector as a docking station. Check on our website for a complete list of iDevice combos that work.
We did this for a few reasons. First, cause we're still testing the Lightning connector with our robot. Second, because supply is constrained for production-capacity orders, and third, most of our users will take 3-6 months to buy their new iPhones.
Plus, we heard most of you want to put an older device on the robot and keep your new iPhone in your hot little hands.
Q: Why come back to Kickstarter?
A: Easy. Kickstarter is home. It's where we launched, and where you saved us from a fate worse than death - one potential investor's recommendation that we pivot out of smartphone robotics and into laser-controlled robot light shows. You told us you loved Romo, and there's no better place, with no better people, to figure out how to build a robot with advanced functions packed into a beautiful, easy to use robot for everyone.
Q: Your Romo Rebooted tier says "The Classic." Does that mean you're giving me the older robot instead of a new one?! WTH?!
A: Nope, sorry about that one, we just meant it's 'the classic' Kickstarter tier - pledge one amount, get one awesome reward in the form of one small, new robot.
Special thanks to:
Patricia Buck and family (Congrats Trish and Patrick!), Tony Hsieh, Principal Diana Albiston, Technology Specialist Lois Holman, and the kids in Mrs. Berger's Fourth Grade Class at Hollingsworth Elementary, Brian Canning of Swiss Bank Account, Daniel Clark for the sick cuts, Matt Franks for wicked ID, the great staff at the Ogden (we love you Gary, Brian and Paul!!), Jennifer and the crew at the Beat coffeeshop, artiste extraordinaire Leticia Maldonado, the tourists on Fremont Street who gave Romo some love, Phu, Keller, Peter, Romo, AND ALL OF YOU for giving us dream jobs.
Directed by: Jimmy Collins, Giant Slice Productions (a very patient man)
Risks and challenges
Here’s the status of Romo's hardware: Design is done, circuitboard is tested and working, packaging is finished, and tooling is finished.
Getting our production process set up is the hardest thing we've ever done. But it was worth it to get you this new Romo.
With amazing support from our factory we’re literally ready to build thousands of these robots a week.
Now on to software...
The things that we’re proposing to do with software development are hard. While problems like autonomous navigation are solved to some degree in robotics, we don’t know for sure we’ll be able to implement them on a platform like Romo - we can calculate and estimate, but we really won't know until we try.
Some of the challenges we’ll run into include potential upper limits on the processing power of the smartphone phone itself, the bandwidth for wifi connections that the phone uses to connect to our servers, and the lack of sensors on the robot beyond those that are already built into the iPhone or iPod you dock on the mobile base.
We’re confident we can figure out solutions to these problems because we’re a team of nerds that has successfully shipped a Kickstarter campaign on time and on spec in the past.
We know how hard it is to build and integrate both hardware and software because we’ve done it before.
We'll try to share as much about this process as we can, posting updates here and on our blog every week. We'll be sharing a lot more about what it's like to spend half our time in China setting up a production line.
And if you have questions, please, fire away.
We know how hard it is to go from building bots on your living room floor to mass production. And we have the right team for the job.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Answer from Romo: 2 way 'global remote control' communication works wherever you have internet. I'd recommend doing it over 4g instead of 3g.
Question from Lars: You talk a lot about visual programming and uploading apps for others to download. Can you name some of the more powerful building blocks you'd like to to support?
Answer from Romo, and his software sherpas: Our visual programming blocks are based on functional programming languages like Lisp and Clojure.
Every block has a condition and an action, and blocks can be nested. This makes it very easy for beginners to get started while making it possible for advanced programs to be developed too.
Advanced programs for us mean things like room mapping with the camera, face detection + recognition, color detection + tracking, and movement detection.
When you connect to me, it feeds back info in real time for you to read and you don't have to touch a line of code.
Question from Connor: Is there going to be any way to use the new Romo software with a 1st-generation Romo?
Answer from Robotics: Hey Connor, unfortunately (fortunately?) the new robot was redesigned from the circuitboard up, so it's completely different under the hood.
Answer from Software: This means that no, the new software won't work with our earliest robot. We'll keep the legacy software live and supported for those robots, but their hardware and firmware wasn't advanced enough to support the things we want our new bot to do. This is actually one of the reasons we redesigned the rover base. If you've got requests for your original Romo let us know - there are plenty of hackers still playing around with his software.
Question from Peter: I take it the robot it self has some sort of battery. What kind? What sort of battery life can be expected? Charge time? Is it replaceable? Do you sell spares or is it a standard battery?
Answer from Production: These are really good questions Peter - we got a charge out of reading them. Heh, heh.
Tomorrow we'll do an update with more performance/feature/spec information, but for now...
1. Romo's power source is an NiMH battery pack custom made for us by a factory that manufactures Roomba battery packs called Corun.
2. It's not replaceable.
3. Battery life is ~2-4 hours, and you recharge using a custom mini USB cable that's included. Our electrical engineer Pat explains it like this: "We count on 4 "motor-hours" of use. So one motor spinning constantly for 4 hours, both motors constantly on for 2, stop-start so that they're each on roughly 1/4 of the time gives us about 8 hours. That's based on the motors drawing 1A current, and a 4.8Ah battery." We've clocked charging times at ~4 hours, but it can be longer depending on what you use as an outlet (wall adapter, laptop USB port, etc). We recommend you treat your Romo sort of like a phone. Plug it him in overnight, turn in, and he'll be ready to greet the day when you wake up. Alrighty then. More than you ever wanted to know about Romo's battery power, eh?
4. We don't sell spare battery packs because we don't want you to crack the shell, which is why we're offering a 1 year warranty and prepaid returns. Ship them back to our Romo Hospital in Las Vegas and we'll recondition or replace your Romo.
It may be crazy but we believe it should be done - you can read more details here: http://romotive.com/help#legal
5. Other parts that may wear are the treads. We'll be offering replacement treads on our website soon, but we've also picked an easy-care, durable silicone for their material. You can also remove them, wash them by hand or put them in the dishwasher, and then put them back on your robot.
Other than that, you'll have to tell us as you and your Romo enjoy a long life together.
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