If you’re anything like me, you’ve always dreamt of having your own personal robot to help with your household or office chores. Unfortunately, robotics and the artificial intelligence that makes it work has been too expensive for everyone to have their own personal mechanical assistant. The Nobot N1H1, a new project seeking funding on Indiegogo, hopes to change that.
The Nobot combines a robot unit with a marketplace of human operators, giving owners their own minion on tap to operate the mechanical assistant. With a human operator, Nobot can answer the door, run errands, be a companion, or handle basic chores. The developers hope to work with other organizations to expand on Nobot’s capabilities, such as allowing the robot to purchase your daily latte from an NFC-equipped coffee chain.
The Nobot Operators’ Marketplace is designed to allow people from around the world to work in better conditions and for better pay than they could otherwise, without forcing them to emigrate to other locations. The first Operator Centers are planned for India, the Philippines, and eastern Europe. Nobot operators will use Oculus Rift for head tracking and camera, while using Leap Motion to control the unit’s hand and arm. In addition to control from an Operator Center, Nobot owners will also be able to control their robot themselves via an app for the iPad.
In its initial variant, Nobot will come with the body of the robot, a right arm and hand, a heavy duty battery pack, caterpillar tracks, and an NFC chip. The Nobot Pro Operator’s kit, sold separately, includes an Oculus Rift developer kit, a Leap Motion device, and transport controls. Owners do not need this kit, since they can operate their own Nobot with an Operator or the iPad app.
This looks like a really cool device, and it should open the doors to quite a few additional innovations in personal robotics. I look forward to the Nobot’s launch, and am excited to see what kinds of tasks people start assigning to their own personal robotic assistants.