At the FIRA RoboWorld Congress 2009, there were a few exhibits from robotics companies set up in the lobby to show what robotics was doing in the small, consumer entertainment field. From toys to serious soccer robots, the selection was interesting to say the least.
First was Ollo, a cross between Legos and robots. The Ollo robots are targeted at younger children, in order to get them interested in science and technology at a young age. The plastic pieces come with motors, CPUs, sensors, remote controllers, software and even books to learn about how all the robots work. One can build planes, trains, windmills, helicopters, a variety of dinosaurs, and even a dog. They move and walk and do a variety of fun interactions. Their customizable frame means that children can mix and match pieces to make their own monstrosities with which they will undoubtedly attack their other toys. It sounds like tons of fun all around.
In a similar vein, there were the Bioloids. They seemed to be a line of robots more sturdy and flexible than the Ollo, and also more expensive. They included humanoid robots standing on their own two feet, and spider-like robots. They also had wheeled models. The robots altogether looked like they could be used for professional robotics competitions.
More impressive was the $1200 walking, running, dancing, and soccer ball-kicking Robotis model. The robot was easily able to balance on its feet in order to kick out with the other foot. It was able to do this without falling over or hesitating. Using a simple directional controller, one is able to have the robot step to the side, turn, move forward, backwards, and everything that a person can do. The robot is about one foot high.
Finally, on one table nearby was a pair of tired-looking robots. It seemed as if they had just finished dancing and were resting and regaining their strength. One of them kept looking at the camera no matter where it was placed, which was a little disconcerting. However, they made no movement so this cameraman can live to photograph another day.