We’ve been hearing about Loomo for a bit– a unique robot that can also be used for transportation that made several appearances at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. But today Segway Robotics is officially launching a Looomo a transporter and friendly robot combined into one device.
And yes, you read that properly–Loomo is both a self-balancing transporter, think of a hoverboard but a much safer balancing device that is made by Segway, plus a friendly robot. Not friendly in the sense of a Sphero robot that will roam on its own, but one that has an Intel RealSense camera and some artificial intelligence onboard. The combination of software and hardware allows for Loomo to perceive the environment. It can avoid obstacles as it has plenty of sensors and cameras that it gains reading from, allowing it too travel on its own. You can give Loomo a command to track something or to even follow a human, it will eventually get to know you through a proprietary Human Understand System.
Since Loomo can understand you through a wealth of sensors and tech onboard, its half that is a friendly robot has a face too. It comes in the form of 4.3-inch touch screen on the front, it has a waveform similar to that of Siri’s and a bubble that is seen as its eye. Loomo is based off Android 5.1 and has a very customized experience, one that has an SDK forthcoming with plenty of updates promised. Along with a this screen, it also has cameras, sensors, onboard storage, WiFi connectivity, and microphones. But the voice commands mostly come through the iOS or Android smartphone companion application.
For instance you can say Ok Loomo Let’s Go” and this robot will approach you and turn around while converting into the transporter mode. Allowing you to step on it and ride it in it’s self balancing transportation mode. It makes use of a proprietary Segway magnesium alloy base paired with 11-inch tires–And you can expect a top speed of 11 miles per hour and a range of 22 miles, so you might want to bring a charger with you.
So, Loomo is from Segway Robotics and is seeking crowdfunding through IndieGoGo. They don’t necessarily need the funding for production but rather, want to give a chance to get early adopters Loomo first. And Loomo is not cheap for a first round product, coming in at $1,299 at an early adopter price and $1,799 as an MSRP. I can’t really say that Loomo is necessary as a robot it doesn’t necessarily seem perfected and as a transporter there are cheaper options that go faster and have a larger range.
But as a product that combines the two, Loomo is unique and exciting, and while I wont be purchasing one, seeing this technology at this price gives me hope that it will eventually get cheaper and become a more mass market product.