It’s amazing to me that it has taken this long, but you know what they say: it’s better late than never. Someone has finally gotten around to designing a self-charging station for NEC’s communication robot PaPeRo. Like Yujin Robot’s iRobiQ, PaPeRo can now autonomously find and dock to its power station when it gets low on juice. Watch PaPeRo find and reverse park its cute little butt to the station in the following video, brought to us by Prof. Takahashi’s lab at Tamagawa University.
So, what’s left for NEC to do? Well, they might actually want to take a cue from the Chinese rip-off known as Unisrobo and add a small LCD touch screen somewhere. That would allow for all sorts of edutainment applications that aren’t possible without a proper display. Of course, they could just give it an iPhone or iPad dock, but that would prevent NEC from generating revenue from third-party apps built for it. It seems to me it would be smart for NEC to create its own app store so that developers could build and sell new applications (such as a twitter client, for example).
I also think an RFID reader would allow for simple educational products, like cards, to be marketed for use in classrooms. I imagine there would also be demand for stylish accessories to customize its appearance. In any case, the charging station is just one small step on the road to its inevitable commercialization.
[source: Pochiwanwannakuna @ YouTube]