Keller Rinaudo
1,183,029 views • 5:50

So just by a show of hands, how many of you all have a robot at home? Not very many of you. Okay. And actually of those hands, if you don't include Roomba how many of you have a robot at home? So a couple. That's okay. That's the problem that we're trying to solve at Romotive — that I and the other 20 nerds at Romotive are obsessed with solving.

So we really want to build a robot that anyone can use, whether you're eight or 80. And as it turns out, that's a really hard problem, because you have to build a small, portable robot that's not only really affordable, but it has to be something that people actually want to take home and have around their kids. This robot can't be creepy or uncanny. He should be friendly and cute.

So meet Romo. Romo's a robot that uses a device you already know and love — your iPhone — as his brain. And by leveraging the power of the iPhone's processor, we can create a robot that is wi-fi enabled and computer vision-capable for 150 bucks, which is about one percent of what these kinds of robots have cost in the past.

When Romo wakes up, he's in creature mode. So he's actually using the video camera on the device to follow my face. If I duck down, he'll follow me. He's wary, so he'll keep his eyes on me. If I come over here, he'll turn to follow me. If I come over here — (Laughs) He's smart. And if I get too close to him, he gets scared just like any other creature. So in a lot of ways, Romo is like a pet that has a mind of his own. Thanks, little guy. (Sneezing sound) Bless you.

And if I want to explore the world — uh-oh, Romo's tired — if I want to explore the world with Romo, I can actually connect him from any other iOS device. So here's the iPad. And Romo will actually stream video to this device. So I can see everything that Romo sees, and I get a robot's-eye-view of the world. Now this is a free app on the App Store, so if any of you guys had this app on your phones, we could literally right now share control of the robot and play games together.

So I'll show you really quickly, Romo actually — he's streaming video, so you can see me and the entire TED audience. If I get in front of Romo here. And if I want to control him, I can just drive. So I can drive him around, and I can take pictures of you. I've always wanted a picture of a 1,500-person TED audience. So I'll snap a picture. And in the same way that you scroll through content on an iPad, I can actually adjust the angle of the camera on the device. So there are all of you through Romo's eyes. And finally, because Romo is an extension of me, I can express myself through his emotions. So I can go in and I can say let's make Romo excited.

But the most important thing about Romo is that we wanted to create something that was literally completely intuitive. You do not have to teach someone how to drive Romo. In fact, who would like to drive a robot? Okay. Awesome. Here you go. Thank you, Scott.

And even cooler, you actually don't have to be in the same geographic location as the robot to control him. So he actually streams two-way audio and video between any two smart devices. So you can log in through the browser, and it's kind of like Skype on wheels. So we were talking before about telepresence, and this is a really cool example. You can imagine an eight-year-old girl, for example, who has an iPhone, and her mom buys her a robot. That girl can take her iPhone, put it on the robot, send an email to Grandma, who lives on the other side of the country. Grandma can log into that robot and play hide-and-go-seek with her granddaughter for fifteen minutes every single night, when otherwise she might only be able to get to see her granddaughter once or twice a year.

Thanks, Scott.


So those are a couple of the really cool things that Romo can do today. But I just want to finish by talking about something that we're working on in the future. This is actually something that one of our engineers, Dom, built in a weekend. It's built on top of a Google open framework called Blockly. This allows you to drag and drop these blocks of semantic code and create any behavior for this robot you want. You do not have to know how to code to create a behavior for Romo. And you can actually simulate that behavior in the browser, which is what you see Romo doing on the left. And then if you have something you like, you can download it onto your robot and execute it in real life, run the program in real life. And then if you have something you're proud of, you can share it with every other person who owns a robot in the world. So all of these wi-fi–enabled robots actually learn from each other.

The reason we're so focused on building robots that everyone can train is that we think the most compelling use cases in personal robotics are personal. They change from person to person. So we think that if you're going to have a robot in your home, that robot ought to be a manifestation of your own imagination.

So I wish that I could tell you what the future of personal robotics looks like. To be honest, I have no idea. But what we do know is that it isn't 10 years or 10 billion dollars or a large humanoid robot away. The future of personal robotics is happening today, and it's going to depend on small, agile robots like Romo and the creativity of people like yourselves. So we can't wait to get you all robots, and we can't wait to see what you build.

Thank you.