January 6, 2016 weblog
Hand in glove, you tell the robot where to move
CES in Las Vegas is one event that clearly proves there is a thin line between adulthood and childhood when it comes to curiosity, fun and, in 2016, interest in controlling robots. One of the stands that many found impossible to ignore was ZeroUI's demo of its Ziro hand gesture controlled robotics kit.
Gestures send commands to the modules so that when you move, they move. Simply put, you control the robot you create with your hand. The Ziro is a series of motors, a glove that lets you control their movements and a smartphone app, which works with Android and iOS devices.
You program the robot with the app. A company rep told a Tom's Guide writer that no coding was involved and that the interface was simple. The app provides pre-made programming templates but allows you to input your own custom gestures. Smart glove sensors understand both hand and finger gestures.
Alastair Stevenson in TrustedReviews was one of the event attendees who took the kit for a spin. In seeing the kit at the show, "I couldn't resist the urge to have a play. This kit not only let you assemble your own robot, but you can also control it using a nifty smart glove. What's more, having done so, I can safely confirm that the kit has the potential to be one of 2016's best toys."
Stevenson did not notice any significant delay between hand commands and the robot's actions.
As designed, the kit is capable of giving children firsthand experiences in controlling robots and at the same time is engaging enough for adults. The mechanized motor modules are controlled by a wireless smart glove, said the company. This motion sensing glove can control up to four motorized modules which you can turn into a car, an R2-D2-like item or any other creation that you imagine.
You can use their pre-made starter kits to construct a robot or you can make it out of material you have available, said its creators.
Tom's Guide said different robots made with Ziro included a robotic spider with its motors moving the legs; another was a bird with flapping wings. Tom's Guide tried it out at CES and found the hand movements very natural and it functioned well.
"After strapping on the glove, we drove a four-wheeled robotic jeep around a crowded show floor just by flicking a wrist. When we moved our hand down, the robot rolled forward and when we lifted the hand up, it went into reverse. Shaking our hand turned the robot off."
The kit will be seen on Indiegogo in two different versions later this month, said Tom's Guide, with two prices attached. There will be a $149 package with two modules and a $199 with four modules. Also, the company is taking pre-orders.
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