There are more and more add-ons available for smartphones. We are eagerly awaiting for example the Romo funded via kickstarter.com. However, because of European regulations with respect to volume restrictions of smartphones, the Romo robot had to be redesigned for the European market and the Romo will arrive somewhere in early June.
Most of the add-ons are sensors which do not have to create a graphical interface for the user because now they can hitchhike on the nice AMOLED, etc. screens of a smartphone which the customer does have anyway already. Such as for example the Cardio Defender from Everist Genomics, the Tinké from Zensorium, the Zeven Plus glucose meter from Dexcom, the v-linc heart rhythm sensor from Valencell, the micoach smart shoes from Adidas.
Slowly, however there are are also actuators (things with a motor) attached to the smartphone as an add-on. There is for example the Xappr gun, the Vibease vibrator, the Cobra key finder and the bikn, the Panasonic rice cooker, several PTZ IP cameras, numerous helicopters, the Parrot quadrocopter, the sphero, an underwater robot, the Hydroview (3000 dollar) from Aquabotix, the Biometerrarium, the Orb music player, etcetera, etcetera.
This world of smartphone-enabled devices is booming. A personal computer has always been, notwithstanding its name, kind of “impersonal”. Your computer does almost have no idea about you or your wishes and plans of the day. Smartphones however start to cross this bridge. It becomes possible, at least from a technical point of view, not to let your phone ring if you are at a specific location or when you are having a date. It is possible to tell you which route to take on the highway, to advice you about health issues, to measure your achievements as a sportsman, etc. However, until now your smarthphone has not so many options to “reach out” to you in the real world. Fairly basic things like turning the heat and the lights on, giving water to the plants, vacuum cleaning are still done by people themselves. Devices should be able to help us better and better. This will become easier the more devices are attached to the internet. Hence, smartphone-powered devices are interesting to us. Not in the first place because they can be turned on by you and me, but especially because they can then be turned on by our robots. Our vacuum cleaner can turn on the lights to make it easier to the cleaning, which is on the moment a far-fetched scenario, but definitely in our reach from a technological point of view. Most important of all, our robots will need to know us to be really good personal assistants. The time of impersonal computers is over…
So, if you sell or find an interesting device, feel free to contact us about the possibilities to make it internet-enabled.
13 May 2012