There’s a growing number of multi-function robots on crowdfunding sites. While some consumers may find a few of them, such as JIBO, too robot-like to warm up to, other consumers may find a few of them, including the Personal Robot, too creepy because of their attempts to seem human.
Buddy may avoid both of those problems because this new social robot that was designed to be a family companion is fairly cute. The robot’s face is featured on an integrated tablet and features two wide eyes and a small mouth that make it appear a bit like a friendly cartoon character. Preliminary tests with the Institute for Children with Autism found that its kid-friendly appearance makes it a good companion for children with special needs, according to Buddy’s Indiegogo campaign.
The open-source, connected robot was also designed to be a modular platform that can be expanded with accessories that initially include a docking station, pico projector and an arms set. Using facial recognition, Buddy will remind family members of important events and also be on the prowl for potential dangers inside and outside the home. It can communicate wirelessly with other devices, including Nest and other smart home devices, via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Although its tablet is Android-based, its app will work with Android, as well as iOS and Windows mobile devices. The Buddy Classic Edition, shipping in July 2016, will cost $749 at retail, but there’s an attractive early bird price of $549. Its maker set a campaign goal of raising $100,000 by Aug. 12.