InnoRobo, a robot exhibition that took place in Lyon, France from March 23rd-25th revealed a new robot from a French company called Robopec. The company’s flagship product is REETI, an open source robotics development platform that connects to your computer. So far there’s only a few applications that are accessible through a simple user interface. ROrganizer associates and plays back specific actions with dates or appointments, while another application lets you watch a live video feed from REETI’s eyes on your iPhone or iPad. You can even tilt the robot’s head to look around by tilting your mobile device.
REETI is stationary but is able to move its head, eyes, eyelids, ears, and mouth. Its face is made of a soft silicone rubber that can deform to produce simple mouth shapes, and blushes red or blue. Two independent cameras (one in each eye) allow the robot to see, while touch sensors in the face detect when it is being poked.
The robot comes with software similar to most video editors, allowing you to animate the robot’s facial expressions and head movements on a time line. A database of preset motions allow you to get started quickly if you don’t want to create them from scratch. If you want the robot to speak, simply type in the lines and the text-to-speech software takes care of the rest.
REETI looks like the French equivalent of the Spanish AISoy 1, though they are targeting different demographics (the AISoy 1 is being marketed as an edutainment toy). And let’s not forget the open source Qbo, which can move around on wheels, allowing you to tackle navigation problems on top of everything else. Hopefully these projects will put down roots in the programming community and eventually bear fruit.