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
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