It’s been about one month since we relaunched Robotics Trends, and one thing is obvious: you guys want robots. Our contest to win a FURo-i Home Robot was so successful that we wanted to do it again.
In Feb. we are raffling off one $1,399 Budgee robot assistant. All you have to do to enter is fill out the short form at the bottom of this page. The winner will be announced on March 3rd. Click here for complete contest rules.
Budgee is a “friendly robot assistant” from Five Elements Robotics that is lightweight with a top speed of 2.4 mph. If you’re walking too fast for it to keep up, it’ll say so, with an app that lets you tailor the message. You can also program the color of its eyes, which have different sizes.
Budgee, which will start shipping in March 2015, easily folds up for storage purposes and weighs just 20 pounds, yet it lugs up to 50 pounds of stuff. The robot runs up to 10 hours on a charge, and although it’s rain-resistant, don’t take it swimming. Not that it would follow you into the pool anyway. Sensors help keep it from falling down stairs, running into obstacles or going off a cliff.
The follow function works through sonar sensors embedded in Budgee’s “ears.” To make it work, owners clip a small module onto the back of his their belt and use the app to set the distance at which their little friend follows. Wendy Roberts, CEO and founder of Five Elements Robotics, says the company is working on a joystick interface that will make the robot more easily controlled for those who use wheelchairs.
Since the first prototype in late 2013, Five Elements Robotics has improved Budgee to be more aware of its surroundings. The first Budgee had a bumper. Like a Roomba, they waited until they bumped into something before correcting their course. Now they have sensors on their front and side to avoid obstacles in advance. Sensors on their bottom prevent the robots from falling off ledges.