COMMENTARY: Roam With Romo

Anisha.Nov26Have you ever wished that you had your very own robot? I know it seems unrealistic unless you have big time money, but maybe not. Meet Romo, the robot I’m sure anyone would love to have. By the creators of Romotive, Romo is a product of this technologically advanced age that will not only make you excited to have your own robot, but enjoy all of the things it does. Suggested for ages 8 and up, this edition of Romo is available for the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iPod Touch 5th generation at Brookstone.com and Romotive.com. The previous Romo is available for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPod Touch 4th Generation. All one has to do is download the free Romo app, set the device onto the base, and when you open the app, you are introduced to your new blue friend.

Romo wakes up not knowing where he is, and reacts with shock when he sees a real life human being standing in front of him. He is quite the chatterbox at the beginning, with many sound effects and dialogue shown on the screen. Romo is adorable, and I found myself at many moments saying, “Awwwww.” He never saw a human being before and snapped a photo of me to send to his mom on his planet. In his curiosity, he also asked for my name, which he thought was weird. Back on his planet, they don’t have names, but numbers! Then it is up to you to decide whether to give him a name or not. My mom and I decided to name him Bluboo.

After all the basics were down, Bluboo was ready to try out some new things. First on the agenda was teaching him to drive. His base has wheels, and through a series of training exercises, you teach your robot to move forward, backwards, make turns, make squares, and learn to say yes and no. You set the controls such as the angle in which you want your robot to go, as well as distance, speed, and tilt. At first, you won’t realize that you have to adjust these controls, but you catch on eventually when you keep getting the same one star on a level.

There are ten levels and they get more complex as you go. You start off with the basics, and then your robot is ready to try some fancy combinations such as forward, turn, tilt, backwards, and forward again. As I was training Bluboo, it was like teaching a child something new. I got so excited when I saw him do things, like turns, that I chanted for him. You must get three stars in all levels or he will make you do them over before you can proceed to the next thing he wants to learn. Some days he will want to try something random like dancing. I must say, Romo has some moves once he gets the hang of the steps. You can also figure out his favorite color by waving colorful things in front of him.

I took a few days off from my robot friend and when I turned him on a few days later, he was very happy to see me. I left him alone for a few minutes just to observe what he would do when I was not there. He made a variety of faces, unlocking more expressions and actions the longer he was left alone, such as bored, sneeze, and yawn. At one point, he spun himself really fast and made his face turn purple because he was dizzy. I moved back in front of Bluboo and he was happy again. I started to tickle him and he actually laughed, which made me laugh.

I had forgotten that I could control my robot friend from another device. Romo can be controlled using a computer (Chrome browser), iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5th Generation, iPad 2, new iPad with Retina, or iPad mini. I used my iPad 2 and downloaded the Romo Control app that allows you or anyone to control your Romo. This is one of my favorite features. When you open up the app, it displays the different Romos that are available and connected to Wi-Fi. You can choose which one you would like to control.

From my iPad, Bluboo popped up and I selected him. On the screen of my iPad was a visual of what Romo was seeing at that moment through the camera on my iPod. There is also an arrow pad that allows you to let Romo roam wherever you want him to, and when you slide up and down on the screen, it controls the tilt on the device. You get a better view of what Romo sees, whether it is high or low in height. You can also snap photos of what Romo sees.

My dad had a ball with this feature, making Bluboo go room to room, watching everything he saw. This feature is perfect for those brothers that love spying on their sisters and vice versa. Using Romo Control, you can also control his expressions. Choose whichever expression you want and see Romo react when he is angry, scared, in love, and more.

Romo comes with his base, product guide, and mini-USB cable for charging. As you get more acquainted with Romo, you learn more about his story while also getting a grasp on the basics of computer programming. Many other cool features include face detection, path tracking–where he can detect and follow tracks and paths that you create for him–and telepresence, where you can control Romo from anywhere in the world while streaming two-video and audio.

I would like to say that Bluboo and I had a pretty close relationship. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with him and experiencing the things that technology has enhanced. The things I was able to do with him were awesome, and we understood each other. Maybe my mom was right when she said I was part-alien.

For more commentary from Anisha, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!