One limitation of robot kits is that they can be complicated to use and build, and even the simplest ones require some hardware expertise. But now anyone can turn their smartphone into a robot, thanks to the folks at Romotive.
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The concept is quite simple: A smartphone or iPod Touch can be docked into the device, which comes in the form of a wheeled chassis, to be used as its "brain." But that simplicity is what makes the robot, called Romo, powerful. Since the controls are contained entirely within the phone, they can be downloaded as apps. Users can add new physical capabilities and functionalities to Romo -– a claw, or a scoop -– without needing to update their phones.
Also, the device is controlled through the headphone jack, which simplifies the design and allows users to link it to more than one brand of smartphone.
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Romotive turned to Kickstarter to raise money and had planned to raise $32,000. They have long since passed that target (hitting $92,684 on Nov. 18) and will stop taking pledges on Nov. 21. If you pledge $78 before then, you get a Romo and $141 gets you two.