It looks like a watermelon-sized eyeball on wheels that glows in hues of purple, blue and orange while gurgling with whimsical buzzes and rings. But the new Roborior gadget isn’t just interior decor.
It’s also a virtual guard dog. It sports a digital camera, infrared sensors and videophone capability so absent homeowners can be notified of intruders.
When the 280,000 yen ($2,600) contraption by Japanese robot maker Tmsuk Co. Ltd. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. detects an intruder with one of its three infrared sensors, it will call its owner’s cell phone and relay streaming video of the scene.
The phone handset can remotely operate the Roborior, telling it to go forward, backward, left or right, or to adjust the angle of the digital camera.
Roborior — the name is a combination of “robot” and “interior” — is set to go on sale in Japan in November or December. There are no overseas sales plans so far.
Designed by Paul White, who has worked on Bjork’s album jackets, Roborior is meant to be a fashionable floor light that won’t assert a pet-like personality common in other Japanese security and entertainment robots such as Tmsuk’s four-legged electronic watchdog Banryu, which costs 2 million yen ($18,000).
The company hopes Roborior can better blend into homes.