The strange little Android desktop robot

Xiaomi alumnus Li Ming has launched an interactive desktop robot with his startup JoyfulRobotics, featuring a modified Android system called GeeUI, offering a range of features. This high-tech gadget, although surprising, promises almost infinite customization, haptic and gestural interactions.

In 2017, home tech had a predilection for robots. These mechanical assistants with futuristic promise have never really penetrated the general public, however, as you know. But today, Li Ming, a former Xiaomi, wants to bring this technology back to life with his startup JoyfulRobotics and his new office robot.

An interactive desktop companion

JoyfulRobotics’ robot is a stationary desktop companion. It is a small object equipped with a 2.1-inch color screen. It is sold at a price of 250 dollars, or about 210 euros at the current exchange rate. According to its designer, it’s far from being a gimmick. The robot uses a modified Android system called GeeUI which gives it impressive interactive capabilities.

Indeed, despite its small size, this robot is capable of a lot. Thanks to GeeUI, the robot has movable legs that allow it to move slightly left and right. It also has an electronic pet mode, a function mode and a hybrid mode.

Electronic pet mode allows the robot to act as a virtual companion, while function mode allows the robot to be used as an office tool, such as task management. The hybrid mode combines these two aspects.

Most impressively, the robot receives OTA updates that allow users to download Android apps and customize their experience with their desktop companion.

In addition, JoyfulRobotics has integrated into the robot haptic feedback, which allows the user to feel a physical response when interacting with the robot, and air gesture control, which allows the robot to be controlled through gestures.

And that’s not all: JoyfulRobotics also announced a mysterious “fifth mode of interaction” that has yet to be revealed. In addition to this, the company offers mini-apps for smartphones that allow interaction with the robot. Finally, JoyfulRobotics promises to provide a set of tools for developers to create their own apps for the robot.

JoyfulRobotics’ office robot could certainly integrate artificial intelligence functions, including a chatbot. It could thus represent a physical manifestation of advanced language models, such as ChatGPT or Google Bard.

This all might sound a little weird, especially considering that the robot fad never really took off. This one is more like a connected assistant. However, with the promise of near-infinite customization and impressive interactive capabilities, JoyfulRobotics’ robot just might find a place on our desks. It is still too early to say if Li Ming’s bet will pay off.

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