It's not the first robot kit to harness the processing power and capabilities of your smartphone, but Romotive's Romo is as easy to assemble as plugging in your headphones, which also makes it compatible with almost any device.
You don't need to be a hacker, programmer, or even know how to solder to use Romo. It comes as a self-contained wheeled chassis that you simply strap your smartphone into. Instead of connecting it to a proprietary dock port, which would have complicated its design and required multiple versions, the Romo simply communicates with the smartphone through its headphone jack. So if you know how to hook up your earbuds, you're technically savvy enough to get it going.
Since the smartphone serves as the Romo's brain, adding new functionality and capabilities is as easy as downloading new apps — which is another technical skillset that most users are already experts at. Romo originally began life as a Kickstarter project, asking for pledges of just $US78 for interested parties to secure one. And with just a couple of days left it's raised close to $US100,000, well above its initial goal of $US32,000. Now admittedly Romo's capabilities at this point are fairly limited — roving remote spy cameras aren't anything new to get excited over. But once it goes into production its creators are encouraging the community to come up with their own unique uses for the bot, hoping to find that same 'killer app' that made the personal computer a must-have item. [Romotive via Discovery]