Watching science fiction movies, we hold our breath and hope to reach a point in the future when we will have robots that talk, fly and do all kinds of tasks. Unfortunately, in everyday life, dabbling in robotics and trying to configure a robot demands a certain set of skills in engineering and programming. Ozobot comes to solve this problem. It might not be able to iron your clothes, but you can program it with ease. All you need are colored markers and a white piece of paper.
Ozobot was first revealed at CES earlier this year, soon after pre-orders were made available through a Kickstarter campaign. Though that campaign never achieved its funding goal, the tiny robot is now available for purchase at only $50. To this cost you also have to add the price of a set of Crayola markers.
The small robot does not connect with a computer. It is unable to communicate with a mobile phone. It only comes with a USB charging port. However, its innovative side comes through the series of sensors for detecting color and contrast that can be found on the robot’s underside. These sensors allow it to follow paths drawn on a white piece of paper or generated by an accompanying tablet app.
The designers of the little robot wrote on their website from Ozobot’s point of view: “I provide kids and techies an expressive way to learn and play with robotics in a variety of social and interactive settings. I come to life when you create mazes, tracks and playgrounds on paper, game boards and digital screens. I also come with free downloadable apps and become your physical avatar for some truly one of a kind augmented reality games.”
To program and control Ozobot you have to draw lines that are about a quarter-of-an-inch thick or use the Android or iOS apps that draws them for you. Then the robot will come to life and follow the lines. What do you think of this tiny robot?