When does a robot cease to be less of a toy, and more of a service robot? The Hovis series of robots by Dongbucould begin to ask that question. While quite a ways from being able to fold your clothes and make you breakfast, this Korean company has a few models that are intriguing from a human interaction and functionality perspective. Thanks to our friends at RoadNarrows Robotics we were able to get some more information on the Hovis line. The Hovis bots are available with either a wheeled omni direction version with the Genie or as a bipedal humanoid with the Eco and the App. While it is possible to swap the bases, the cost would not be cheap. The Dongbu DRS-0201 servo is over $100/piece and they estimate you would need 10 to make the conversion. Almost as much as buying the Genie and the Eco robots separately.
Though not cellular capable, the Genie and App do telepresence through its wifi and Bluetooth enabled mobile internet device (MID). The Genie/App models looks like they could really be a decent assistant with capabilities such as telepresence (of course), and a personal assistant (think Siri on wheels), along with the ability to interact, primarily through games, and mostly for children. This makes Hovis more of a companion rather than a toy.
They are looking at implementing GPS capability through the use of an Android smartphone, but this will probably be several months before that happens. If just being a service robot is not enough, you can implement programs using software like Microsoft’s Robotic developer studio or Android SDK depending upon your experience level with programming.
Looking at the family as a whole, the Hovis App has the highest capability and functionality, while the eco will allow you to get started with understanding robotics. Because if you can teach a robot to dance, conquering the world is only a few more keystrokes away.
Photo source: Dongbu