If there’s any sort of trend in robotics this year it’s soft hands. Robots with soft pincers are quite useful in picking up – and not breaking – objects and now you can enjoy a soft-handed robot at home.
The robot is called Gomer and it’s available now on Indiegogo. The little robot had an expressive face and a big claw on top. You can play games with Gomer – my kids liked keep-away in which the robot steals a box and then tries to run away from you – or you can train him to pick up objects or explore his surroundings.
I had an early version of Gomer and our techie family found him very cute. At $229 for early birds you’re not paying much for a smart wheeled robot and he has a nice little SDK for programming. They’ve also designed him to be able to play with your pets, as evidenced by the short video of Gomer tormenting a grey cat.
Dr. Jonathan Liu created Gomer as part of his research into soft robotics. His co-founder, Eric Zhao, worked in robotics and embedded systems.
“For the first time, soft robotics is not exclusive to factories and other industry specific products, but are made consumer friendly and for the masses,”said Liu. “Gomer is easy to use for anyone, but also has an open API for developers who want to customize Gomer. In addition, Gomer’s AI recognizes facial expressions and can express its own based on what he sees.”
“When the Gomer team finished graduate school, we had a clear idea of what we wanted to do with our research results: a robot that combined the helpfulness and attitude of Dobby with the playfulness of Baymax. We invented Gomer to bring this dream into reality, and to bring to the world a new being with the liveliness and distinctiveness of our favorite animated characters,” he said.