This “ballbot” approach is based on technology patented by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. The robot balances and moves around on a sphere at its base, which lets it navigate deftly through human environments and means it can have a slimmer profile. I think it gives the robot prototype a kind of Rosie from The Jetsons look. Or maybe a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
mObi stands 4 feet, 9 inches tall and is 19 inches at its widest point. Up top it uses a tablet as a head, and that blue circle on its body is its “Emotive Light Array,” which looks like it could be used for signaling what state or mode it’s in. It can run Windows or ROS, the open source Robot Operating System.
You won’t be seeing mObi inside homes and businesses anytime soon, though. The robot will first be available to developers and researchers in 2013. In the meantime, if you want something robotic wheeling around your office you’ll just have to settle for a telepresence device like the Beam.