Buddy is a social robot that is poised to become a valued family member in many home across the globe. Developers are being encouraged to get involved by purchasing the special edition that includes the SDK.
It seems that everyone want to build and perhaps even buy a social robot and crowd funding also seems to be the way to do it.
Buddy comes from Blue Frog Robotics and is being launched with a highly successful Indiegogo campaign. One of its remarkable features is it's price tag of $649. All the Super Early offers for the Classic model which knocked $150 off this price were quickly sold out and at the time of writing the stock of Early Bird offers has almost been exhausted, even though the expected delivery date is May 2016.
What accounts for this popularity?
To quote its own advertising blurb:
BUDDY makes life easier in many ways. He can be a personal assistant, a playmate for children, help with the care of those who are older or less mobile, and act as a home security system.
This promotional video reveals why Buddy might be regarded as a replacement for a companionable pet rather than as a robot that can help with household tasks.
Exactly what Buddy is capable of will depend on the availability of software. According to Rodolphe Hasselvander, Blue Frog Robotics co-founder and CEO:
“Developers around the world can help us make BUDDY more intelligent and useful by giving him new skills, content and features.”
pointing out that:
“Buddy was purposely built to be compatible with popular development tools to allow as many developers as possible to collaborate with us.”
Specifically it uses an open-source platform currently running in the Android and Windows environments and is compatible with Unity 3D, Arduino and OpenCV.
Buddy is already proving popular with developers and all 100 of the early bird developer edition, expected to ship late 2015, have been snapped up.
There is still the opportunity to purchase a Buddy Developer Edition by pledging $799 ($749 plus $50 shipping) for delivery around a month before the end users start to receive theirs. The extra benefit is being enrolled in the developer program, which includes the SDK, technical support, and access to the Buddy developer community.
The SDK is expected to include:
A visual programming tool based on Unity 3D
Advanced tools to create new libraries
A library of animations, sounds and vocalizations
A text-to-speech tool
A virtual simulator that lets developers create and observe more basic animations, timelines and behaviors without a robot.
Extending Buddy's behaviors sounds more fun than simply owning one to wake up the the kids, switch off household appliances and remind you of meetings you'd rather forget.
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