Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY -


For decades we’ve been promised au­ton­o­mous ro­bots to do our bid­ding. We have dreamt of a glo­ri­ous fu­ture in which we drink cock­tails as our me­chan­i­cal min­ions at­tend to our other con­cerns. Alas, as with hover-boards and com­put­erised bu­reau­crats, that fu­ture has not yet ar­rived. Sure, you can have a ro­bot but all it will do is amuse you. In­tro­duc­ing Mip: the new con­sumer ro­bot that won’t make you tea but is other­wise a de­light­ful chap.

Mip is the world’s f irst bal­anc­ing ro­bot. It clev­erly runs around, or just stands still, on two wheels, us­ing sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy to what you’d f ind in those Segway mo­torised scooter things that you stand on. This tech­nol­ogy alone is pretty amaz­ing.

There are sev­eral modes you can activate and Mip can also be con­trolled with a smart­phone app. My favourite mode was ‘roam’ in which Mip wan­ders a r ound t he room, whistling and mak­ing e xc l a ma­tions as it goes. The ro­bot also scans the e nv i r on ment in front of it and will avoid walls, stairs and other ob­sta­cles.

Value for money:

Also con­sider: It’s great t fun to just set it down and watch ch it go.

An­other her im­pres­sive mode has Mip fol­low­ing g your hand ges­tures. If you beckon it t to­ward you with your hand, Mip fol­lows. lows. Wave your hand to the side and d Mip will turn that way. It pro­vides end­less point­less en­ter­tain­ment.

Mip can also fight against other ro­bots if you have more than one and in­cludes udes a tray it can carry with any­thing thing up to its own body­weight on n top. Be­fore you get any ideas, how­ever, let me sug­gest that get­ting the thing to carry liq­uids is a very bad idea.

Mip is s a well-con­ceived prod­uct, but there is one con­fus­ing de­sign de­ci­sion in that it t uses four AAA bat­ter­ies for power in­stead nstead of an in­ter­nal recharge­able bat­tery. ery. You’ll also only get about a day’s worth rth of mod­er­ate play out of Mip be­fore the e bat­ter­ies are de­pleted and you have to deal with three screws on the bat­tery com­part­ment to change them. Fairly ridicu­lous dicu­lous and puts a se­ri­ous dent in the fun un we were hav­ing un­til Mip’s first round d of fb bat­ter­ies i ran d dry.

Ap­par­ently a recharge­able Mip is in the works but un­til then make sure you have a de­cent budget for bat­ter­ies and a Philips screw­driver handy be­fore com­mit­ting to pur­chase. That’s re­ally the only con to an other­wise awe­some toy.

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