Real life R2D2 robot

Although I'm not one of those people who walk around in Jedi apparel I like Star Wars saga and I couldn't resist writing a page on a Star Wars related topic. I'm going to tell you more about real R2D2 robots you can get. If you are willing to read more about the fictional robot itself, go somewhere else.

r2d2
A picture by Andres Rueda, released under Creative Commons license.

So, you'd like to have Artoo rolling around your home and entertaining you and your friends or maybe even do something useful? Well, it's more than possible. Of course, he (I can say 'he', right?) won't be able to hack into your computer or repair an X-wing fighter in case you own one.

What real R2D2 robots can do? Well, there are R2D2s that can spy for you, there are R2D2 robots that can show you a movie as well as some that can play games with you and... Well, that can just act "Artoo-ish" and bring you a soda drink.

Nikko Star Wars R2-D2 Wireless webcam with Skype

This is the "spying" Artoo. As you can understand by its name it is, basically, a wireless webcam. It wouldn't be possible to call this a robot if it couldn't move. Well, it can and that's a great feature. There are also other remote controlled wireless webcams on the market, but hey, this one is R2D2!

So it has all the needed software, so you can control the robot wirelessly using your computer. Also, it is possible to connect to your Artoo and control it using the internet. This robot can also be controlled using a remote.

Remote is also an interesting item. It's a lightsaber. You can use it either as a remote for your Artoo, either as a Skype-phone or as a... lightsaber. Well, you won't be able to chop things using it but the manufacturer has included authentic sound effects.

Are there other interesting things about it? It has an edge detection capability, which is great. That's basically it - it's a wireless, remote controllable webcam, with a remote that sounds like a lightsaber and can be used as a VOIP phone. Oh, and it looks and sounds like the droid from movies. I suppose the X-wing repairing capability is scheduled for the next model.

If you'd like to learn about other mobile webcams, I have an article especially for you. Go there to find out who are Spykee, Rovio and ConnectR and what are they capable of.

Nikko R2-D2 DVD projector

If you've seen the saga you probably remember that among other things R2D2 was capable of projecting things. This real-life R2D2 robot also has this capability. Well, not exactly the same capability, holographic projection could be a problem.

Still, this one has an integrated DVD projector and speakers. As you can understand this robot is also remote controlled. So you can project your movie wherever you like - on the walls, on the ceiling et cetera.

The projector is quite good - maximum projection size is 260 inches with resolution 1024 x 768 XGA and contrast 1800:1. The R2D2 robot has an integrated CD/DVD player. Also, it is possible to connect other devices through numerous audio/video ports.

Star Wars R2-D2 interactive astromech droid by Hasbro

Give the Unexpected If both above mentioned R2D2 robots can be regarded more like household than toy robots, this one is clearly a toy. It is voice activated so it understands some preprogrammed commands. It has three modes - companion, game and command mode.

The companion mode is the basic mode in which you can interact with your R2D2 robot. From this mode both other modes can be accessed. Among other things, in this mode you can ask your R2 to patrol the room or ask him if he remembers certain Star Wars characters.

In the game mode as the name suggests you can play some games with your R2D2 robot for example - hide and seek. Also, you can ask Artoo to dance a bit in this mode. Whether he will dance to a happy or sad music depends on his mood.

The command mode is where you can command your robot to execute different movements and even program a path of movement. If he wants it - that is. As the robot comes with a utility arm, it's theoretically possible to get your Artoo to bring you a drink.

You may have noticed that I mention things like Artoo's mood or will from time to time. This is not just speaking in images. Hasbro has really given personality to this robot so it's possible that he won't do what you want from time to time and act differently depending on his mood.

So if you want your robot to obey you, you may be a bit disappointed when R2 gets rebellious. Also those few who are disappointed with this robot mention poor voice recognition capability. On the downside one can mention also the lack of edge detection capability.

Regarding the voice detection, I have to say that it's a tricky thing. We have different voices and different way of pronunciation words. As the software usually compares the sample it receives with one or more samples in its memory it may get something wrong from time to time.

On the other hand, Hasbro really had no other choice. I mean, can you imagine Luke Skywalker controlling the R2D2 using some kind of remote? It's essential that a toy that imitates not only R2D2's appearance but also his personality has to be voice activated.

So if you want an R2D2 robot that can spy for you, consider the first one mentioned in this article. If you want a remote controlled projector that is cool and looks like a droid from the Star Wars saga, consider the second one. If you want an affordable toy with Artoo's soul, the third one is for you.

In either case, if you had a dream of having your own R2D2 at home but had no idea how to fulfill it - now you have options to choose from!

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