Robots have fascinated me since my childhood. It started when I saw the original Lost in Space robot, and was permanently cemented when C3PO and R2D2 were introduced in the original Star Wars. Since then, I have hoped that the day would come when I could command such a robot. Brookstone Innovation, a company that caters to lovers of high-tech toys, has released its Rover 2.0 wireless spy tank for people like me who long for their childhood dreams to be embodied. Rover 2.0 is a remote control toy tank robot equipped with a wide angle web camera with infrared transmission that is mounted on the front of the tank. The camera can move up and down (but not side to side as you can use the robot’s left and right movement for that purpose) and you can stream video to your iPad or Android device for secret spy missions or targets. of vigilance. The two rungs make the tank fairly easy to maneuver although the onscreen controls of the free iOS app take a bit of patience to get comfortable. The robot carries its own wireless access point and uses it to connect to the Rover 2.0 app. Unfortunately, that means that while you are driving the tank, it must be connected to the robot’s access point and not the local WiFi access point. This means that you will have to disconnect from the robot and reconnect to your network each time you want to connect your iPhone or iPad to the Internet via WiFi.
The iPad app can also be used to trigger and capture still photos or motion video from the Rover 2.0’s onboard camera, directing the robot. The camera has infrared capabilities, allowing you to move the robot (as well as record videos or take photos) in complete darkness. The Rover 2.0 can even stream two-way audio from the iPad to the Rover’s built-in speaker, allowing you to converse in walkie-talkie mode with those around you. If this sounds like a lot of fun, it is! Rover 2.0, as the numerical assignment suggests, is a second-generation design improvement over the original Rover product. I never got a chance to review the original Rover, so I don’t have a basis of comparison for those who already own the first iteration. While improvements made to the original design further refined the product, Rover 2.0 has some technical limitations indicating that more iterations in hardware and software design may be in the works. Powered by 6 AA batteries, this thing eats batteries for breakfast. Although the pack includes 6 AA batteries to start with, prospective Rover 2.0 owners might consider swapping them out for rechargeable batteries. While adding your own rechargeable battery pack would undoubtedly increase the cost of the Rover 2.0 by a significant factor, the fact that the Rover lasts just over an hour on a fresh set of batteries means this robot won’t wander your halls. . all night. What would have been really cool is if the Rover had a Roomba-style ability to automatically dock to a charging station when the batteries run out. That way, Rover 2.0 could always be available, ready for action. Well, maybe Rover 3.0 offers such a nifty autonomous feature.
A nice skill that is yet to be fully realized is the log path feature. This works by activating recording in the Rover 2.0 app and then driving the robot normally. Stop recording stores the movement instructions for later playback. Unfortunately, only one Playback Set can be saved at a time, and those instructions are erased when the Rover 2.0 is turned off. Rather than recording a set of motion instructions in real time, the Rover 2.0 iOS app could be enhanced to include a simple series of command execution blocks (e.g. turn right, go straight 10 feet, turn left , stop 30 seconds, take picture, turn around, go straight 10 feet, etc.). Multiple sets of instructions can be saved and shared with other Rover 2.0 owners. Games can be played to see how fast a robot can be programmed to run an obstacle course, or go through the layout of a house or building based on the level of the structure and the set of instructions being executed. Since this should be a simple matter of updating the Rover 2.0 software application, adding such capabilities shouldn’t be too difficult. Perhaps we will see such functionality in a future Rover model. Overall, the Rover 2.0 Wireless Spy Tank is an initially exciting but constrained toy that shows great promise for what we could all have in our homes one day. While it may be an expensive vision of the future, it could also inspire a lucky young man to enter the field of robotics and build a future Rover that elevates him from a toy to an everyday appliance. Product: Rover 2.0 Wireless Spy Tank
Company: Brookstone Innovation
Price: $ 149.99 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars