OLogic Bringing Back A.M.P. Rolling Robotic Boombox
I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but that A.M.P. music robot from 2008 has just shown up at the DEMO Conference, being (re?) launched by a company called OLogic. A little background: the first A.M.P. was a collaboration between Sega Toys and Hasbro, and it was a music playing robot that you could plug your iPod into. It came with a remote control, and could dance around or even follow you thanks to a couple obstacle detection sensors. It launched in in August of 2008 in both Japan and the U.S. for about $500. It seems like it didn't really get anywhere, and in fact looks to have made even less of a commercial impact than the Sony Rolly.
This new version of A.M.P. looks to be essentially the same, possibly even identical, with the addition of Bluetooth music streaming plus a smartphone app that can be used to control the robot directly instead of the remote. It'll cost $300 - $400 and be available in 2012 or 2013.
I'll confess to be not entirely sure where OLogic is going with this, or why they think they'll have better luck than the original A.M.P. robot did back in 2008, especially without a more dramatic price reduction. For $300, you could buy a fairly decent stationary non-robotic stereo system that likely sounds a whole heck of a lot better than I bet this robot does. So really, this is a toy, for people who want a robot, not a music player. At the same time, it's a very 2008 robot, without much of the exciting new technology that's made comparably priced robots like the Parrot AR Drone such a success.
OLogic says that they're looking to "revolutionize consumer robotics with smartphones" and that they'll be coming out with a bunch more smartphone powered and integrated robots in the coming years. They've got significant (and growing) competition in that space, but I certainly hope that they can make it happen. The world always needs more robots.