Segway has launched a new gadget that doubles up as a method of transportation and a robot companion.
The Segway Loomo is available to pre-order today on Indiegogo and is presumably targeted at those who want their commute served with a side-order of conversation.
The mini transporter has been given an infusion of artificial intelligence and a can be controlled through your smartphone. It will reach speeds of up to 11mph on one charge and is capable of covering 22 miles in one go.
But it also has a “lovable nature and lighthearted expressions” when it transforms into robot mode.
“Segway-Ninebot has already put millions of wheels on the ground that cover 180 million kilometers each year,” said Li Pu, President of Segway Robotics
“But what happens if you combine Segway’s proven mobility technology with cutting-edge AI?
“For many, Loomo is a reflection of our movie fantasies growing up. it embodies our vision of how mobile personal robots can become a part of our everyday lives.”
The “face” of the Segway Loomo is a 4.3-inch LCD screen with a 1080p HD camera attached to locate you with motion-tracking. There’s a five microphone array so it can pick up voice commands as well.
“Driven by deep learning and computer vision technologies, Loomo owns a powerful visual system consisting of an object Detection and Tracking System (DTS) and a Human Understanding System (HUS). DTS enables the detection and tracking of multiple-objects in real time, and is the foundation for many applications,” explains Segway.
“HUS enables Loomo to recognize faces and understand human properties, e.g. gender, gestures, and other behaviors that are required for human understanding and interaction analysis.”
The gadget will also arrive with a free Android-based development kit so tech enthusiasts can experiment with building new features of their own.
Initial early bird pre-orders are set at $1299 (roughly £940), which will put this beyond the realm of a casual purchase.