LAS VEGAS -- This robot takes "talk to the hand," quite literally. Designed for chlidren for engaging enough for adults, the Ziro robotics kit uses a motion sensing glove to control up to four motorized modules you can turn into a car, an R2-D2 replica or any creation of your choosing. We had a chance to spend a few minutes with the $149 robot here at CES and came away impressed with its functionality.
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.
In addition to the glove, there's a smartphone app for iOS and Android that you can use to program the Ziro. We didn't get to see the app in action, but a rep from ZeroUI, the company that makes the Ziro, told us that its interface is very simple and does not involve coding.
You can use the Ziro modules to create a rolling robot like the one we tested or you can deploy them for other designs. At CES, the company showed off several different robots made with Ziro, including a robotic spider where the motors moved the legs and a bird where they flapped the wings. There was also a replica of R2-D2 with Ziro modules service as wheels.
The Ziro kit will be available on crowdfunding site Indiegogo in two different versions later this month, a $149 base package with two modules and a $199 kit with four modules. You can register to pre-order the device now at http://www.ziro.io/. At present, the software supports using four modules at once, but the company said that future software updates will increase that number.