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The $65,000 Emotive Robotic Avatar


October 29, 2010

Hammacher Schlemmer's Emotive Robotic Avatar

Hammacher Schlemmer's Emotive Robotic Avatar

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Mail order retailer Hammacher Schlemmer is hoping that someone out there will be willing to plunk down the price of a luxury automobile on its Emotive Robotic Avatar. The US$65,000 device is essentially a stationary remote-control robot, through which its user can carry on conversations, make gestures, and convey five different emotions. On one hand it's a taste of the future, on the other... that's a very expensive puppet.

The 54-inch (137-cm) tall robot stands on a stage (not shown), and is able to move just about every part of its body via 19 concealed motors. A microphone and pinhole camera allow users to see and hear what’s going on around it, while a pitch-altering digital stereo processor relays voice through two speakers built into the stage – and yes, its mouth moves as you speak.

Besides being able to carry on real-time conversations, the device can also display feelings of happiness, confusion, anger, sadness, and embarrassment (as in “Oh man, I just spent $65,000 on a puppet!”). It does so through body language, voice pitch, and eyes and antennas that contain multicolor LEDs. If, for instance, the user wishes to convey happiness, then the robot will accordingly stand fully upright, with bright green eyes and perked-up green antennas – anger, on the other hand, is represented with squinty red eyes and pulled-back red antennas.

All of this interactivity can be controlled from up to 30 feet (9 meters) away, via an included headset-equipped tablet PC.

The Emotive Robotic Avatar has an aluminum skeleton, an ABS plastic shell, and runs on AC power. Units are built to order.

Via Hammacher Schlemmer

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Someday, this little bozobot will be worth hundreds of dollars as a rare collector\'s item!


I have my own special \"little friend\" who I like to talk too all day long - and he came for free.

Mr Stiffy
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