When you hear “home robot”, you probably think of something that rolls around smoothly on wheels you can’t see with a “face” illuminated by unsettlingly emotive LED lights. Those domesticated R2D2 knockoffs are on their way, and they’re as cool as you imagined. But not all robots are made equal. Some just sit stationary, protecting your home with security features while also serving as a smart home hub. Home assistant robot Momo does even more and is making a name for itself on Kickstarter thanks to its wide range of features.
Momo comes into the picture at a time when it seems that in the near future, we are sure to have a specific device that will serve as an interface between a home and its inhabitants. In a bid to become that unifying home gadget, the creators have packed Momo with a whole slew of features spanning a security system, a personal assistant, and a smart hub. It remains to be seen whether the versatility is a selling point or if it appears like a lack of focus.
The device has some interesting hardware as well as software to pull off all its functions. A 360-degree night vision camera works in tandem with a motion and sound sensors to form the basis for a security system. Thes system kicks in automatically when you leave your house or when you turn in for the night. A facial recognition software identifies residents and regular visitors and raises an alert whenever abnormal activity is detected.
Momo also has the ability to serve as a touchpoint for your various devices. An accompanying app lets you create a profile and add other users. From there on it, it automatically detects devices and allows you to add them to its network. And once all the devices are linked, any one of them can be used to make video calls via Momo. The device makes use of machine learning to study users’ habits, so it learns what your preferences at different times of the day, with different users, and so on.
Momo’s crowdfunding campaign is up and running, with $26,000 in the Kickstarter bank so far and a $45,000 goal in its sights. It’s an ‘All or nothing’ campaign, though, so it will have to raise at least the goal amount or walk away with nothing at all. You can help them reach that milestone and get yourself a Momo robot for $279, which weirdly is the only fixed reward tier available. That’s a substantial 60 percent off the $699 retail price, so it’s a handy discount if Momo turns out to be everything it claims to be.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.
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