Ingawale calls the 2-feet tall robot i2u2, after R2-D2, the robot character in George Lucas’ Sci-Fi movie Star Wars. It allows the user to log into it from any device and take control of it from around the world.
The robot which moves around the house on wheels, can also detect faces and gestures. “It can go find a person in a room or fig ure out simple gestures like a yes or no,“ said Ingawale, who was one of the researchers who helped build the Copenhagen Wheel at the MIT. The wheel, an add-on to your bicycle, can convert it into an electric hybrid vehicle. “If someone at home is mis sing you, they could just tap the robot on the head and you’d get a buzz on your phone,“ he said. “It was just some thing I built for our families to talk but we got a lot of interest from people,“ said Ingawale.
The i2u2 is priced at . 24,999 and was first de ` signed by Ingawale to sim ply talk to his 2-year-old son Abhimanyu and family while his work took him to various parts of the world.
“You could be sitting in New York and playing with your son in your house in Mumbai,“ said Ingawale who plans to ship 100 of these robots this December for Christmas.
An 8-member team in Bengaluru and New York are working on the product currently . In October, Ingawale’s company , 1MoreThing, plans to take in more pre-orders after shipping the first batch of robots.
Researchers around the world have built and tested humanoid robots for decades now. However, they aren’t yet mainstream consumer devices. Most recently , Japanese conglomerate SoftBank launched Pepper -a robot which could read emotions and sells for about $1,931.Pepper, 4-feet, 28-kilogram robot running on Lithium-ion battery can analyse voices as well as expressions.
Ingawale doesn’t want to stop at building a telepresence robot. The product will have the ability to remotely control things at home in the future, he said.