CES – the Consumer Electronics Show has turned into the premier PR event of the year. Be there, or be square. You’re either there with something new and amazing to announce, or the press assumes that your company is rapidly fading away. So it wasn’t surprising to hear that Wowwee Robotics was giving a ‘sneak preview’ at the show – though the robot designs that were previewed seem really puzzling. . .
According to Engadget (see link below) Wowwee gave PC Magazine the sneak peek at the new robots. Of course, giving a “sneak” peek to a major industry publication is like getting “a little bit” pregnant. You can’t do things like this by halves. So, the cat – or in this case, the robots – are out of the bag.
What does Wowwee have in store for their new Fall line of robots? Frankly, from the information that’s been disclosed so far, we’re more confused than enlightened.
Apparently the Robosapien V2 is going to morph into a walking media center. They’ve grafted a LCD display into it’s chest so that you can watch what the camera in its head sees, installed an SD slot to store data and scripts, and a USB port. The LCD display concept is fine, but we have to wonder why bother? Or, why not send the video off to be viewed remotely like Nuvo and some of the other biped robots already do. The USB port is something that was mentioned by Tilden with the V2 but apparently disabled or abandoned due to time constrains during the release of the V2. Of all the enhancements mentioned, the SD slot appears to have the most potential. If that translates into the ability to store, exchange, and trade personalities with other users it would be fantastic.
The second robot sneak peek involved the Roboreptile – a faster, potentially more aggressive offshoot of the Roboraptor. From the photos, the Roboreptile looks like they put the Robopet out to stud with a Roboraptor, or vice versa.
The third, and perhaps most puzzling sneak peek robot is the P-Bot, the Wowwee/Segway collaboration, that balances on two wheels – but has two other wheels instead of hands just in case, an LCD face, and ‘artificial feelings.’ The two wheel balancing is a neat trick, but one that has already been done numerous times by robot experimenters and even hobbyists. It’s even been done with Lego Mindstorms (the Legway), so we’re anxious to see what Wowwee really has in mind for the P-Bot.
P-Bot used as a
We’re not negative about the new Wowwee robots – just totally confused at this point. Hopefully, as more information is released by Wowwee, we’ll end up being just as pleased and delighted as we were by the original Robosapien, V2, Robopet, and Roboraptor.