Cerevo Inc. said Friday it has launched a shape-changing home projector robot that can turn ceilings, walls and floors into displays.
The Tokyo-based hardware venture firm’s new robot, called Tipron, is also capable of learning where to project images, moving to those positions by itself, and returning to its charging station.
“Sci-Fi anime and movies sometimes have a scene where all walls at home are becoming digital displays … it would be possible to re-create it in real life if actual displays are embedded” there, but it would cost too much, Cerevo CEO Takuma Iwasa said at a news conference in Tokyo.
“We came up with Tipron to solve that issue. If the robot has a projector on its head and can move around independently, it is theoretically possible to project images on every wall,” he said.
But Tipron, which can project 80-inch (203-cm) images, costs a lofty ¥229,800.
For this price, the consumer gets more flexibility.
For instance, if you want to wake up in the morning and listen to some healing music and images, the robot, which is Wi-Fi-capable, can be preprogrammed to come to the bedroom at a designated time and project content from YouTube on the ceilings.
If you get up and want to browse the news, Tipron will follow you to the living room and project the news on the walls.
Using a smartphone app, one can program Tipron to project images from as many as 50 different positions. The 9.5-kg robot learns locations and where to move by analyzing physical features at the site through sensors and camera.
One of Tipron’s most distinctive characteristics is that it can change into different shapes, which Iwasa said is rare for home robots and might make it the first of its kind.
“It actually started with kind of a dumb idea that it must be transformable if it’s made by a Japanese,” Iwasa said in a joking reference to the fact that many Japanese anime feature robots that can transform.
But the transforming feature turns out to be one of its most useful functions.
When projecting, the robot is 80 cm high, but when dormant, it withdraws its head and body into a 40-cm device. Staying compact is important because it is less likely to topple over when changing into different positions, Iwasa said.
The firm said a durability test shows that Tipron can shift more than 30,000 times.
Cerevo said the first robots are expected to ship this month.