Segway releases robot

By Kelly Wong

Staff Writer

At the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January of last year, Segway partnered with Intel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Stibo Accelerator, to release its prototype of the Segway robot:Loomo.

Last month at the CES, Segway released its developer edition shipments of Loomo, a version specifically for developer use. Loomo is an open source hoverboard robot. Its open source allows developers internationally to modify and implement features to further the robot’s functionality and development through the Android platform.

Equipped with transportation capabilities and detachable arms, Loomo can carry its owner around like a Segway.

“It apparently combines the voice recognition and interactive skills…with something that can take you to places without moving to move. Perfect,” stated Engadget magazine.

Loomo is also built with depth sensors, navigational tools, and cameras. This allows it to analyze and adapt to the environment around it. This also lets it navigate through buildings and follow its owner.

Segway’s developer program was broadcasted last April in Shenzhen, China at the Intel Developer Program.

The program allows developers to request a Software Development Kit (SDK) through its website, robot.segway. The program contains both the robot and the software.

The first four applicants to recieve the SDK were selected last month. These applicants include BMW, Intel, MIT Smart Innovation Center, and Stibo Accelerator.

“We are thrilled to partner with some of the world’s leading technology organizations to create a powerful computer that you can engage with in an unprecedented, three dimensional way,” stated Sarah Zhang, senior director and head of Robotics Business Operations of Ninebot, to Robotics Tomorrow.

The applicants were required to submit specific a plan as to how they would use Loomo for innovation.

BMW chose to focus on employing Loomo to assist with autonomous driving. On the other hand, Intel has decided to give Loomo 3D vision to expand its usefulness, while MIT plans to use Loomo for medical care and medical companionship. Stibo Accelerator plans to use the robot for consumer retail.

Consumer distribution is expected to commence later this year.

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