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Make your smartphone a personal robot: Keller Rinaudo at TED2013

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Sometimes, it feels like your smartphone is your friend. But if Keller Rinaudo has his way, your phone may be more like a pet.

Rinaudo, the co-founder and CEO of Romotive, has created Romo, a smartphone robot. Your phone docks into a robotic base that looks a bit like a powdery blue tank. When you download the Romo app, the bot comes to life. He can smile at you and jumps back if you make a sudden movement. He can be driven, and he’ll snap photos and stream video. He’s affordable (about $150) and highly programmable. But more than that, Romo is intended to be a companion with a personality.

“We think if you’re going to have a robot in your home, that robot should be a manifestation of your imagination,” says Rinaudo. “We don’t know where the future of robots will go. But what we do know that it isn’t 10 years or $10  billion away … The future of personal robotics is happening today.”

Here, see photos of Rinaudo demoing Romo on the TED stage. And below, a video of what Romo can do.

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Keller Rinaudo’s talk is now available for viewing. Watch it on»