For under $20 (starting June 2011) you can get your hands on a tiny TankBot that is controlled by an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Full details after the break.
Toronto, Canada "“ (January 19, 2010) "“ Desk Pets International (HK) Limited, creator of interactive micro-robotic toys and gadgets with big-play value, unveils TankBot, the world's first sub-$20 micro-robotic toy that can be controlled by your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. TankBot's three modes allow it to navigate mazes, roam, and be fully controllable by your Apple device. With a built-in USB charger, battery cost is non-existent, giving TankBot hours of inexpensive playtime. Not available until June, TankBot will make its first public appearance at this year's Toy Fair in New York City on February 13-16.
Desk Pets has revolutionized remote control toys by connecting their most recent micro-robot to today's latest mobile technology. Each TankBot features a dongle that easily plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Utilizing Apple's accelerometer technology, Desk Pets developed a program that enables TankBot to be controlled by simply tilting your mobile device. Tilt the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch forward and TankBot rolls forward, angle the phone right and TankBot instantly makes a right turn. TankBot even has a mind of its own. Switch to autonomous mode and using built-in IR sensors, TankBot can navigate a maze, avoid obstacles and interact with the users hand motions, all on its own.
Desk Pets International's Managing Directors, Michael Trzecieski and David Piltz, have taken interactive toys to a new level by incorporating Apple devices as the main control. "We are the first company to develop a sub $20 toy with full compatibility with the Apple devices," says Trzecieski. Piltz highlights TankBot's autonomous mode that set it apart from other toys on the market. "Just waving your hands in front of the robot almost becomes addictive as it moves and reacts to what you do. You wait for it to slip up and it doesn't, it consistently acts with a military precision."
TankBot features include:
"¢ Incorporates Apple's accelerometer technology to be fully controllable by tilt of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
"¢ Autonomous mode uses IR sensors to navigate mazes, avoid obstacles, and react with military precision
"¢ Free roaming mode with tank sounds
"¢ Retractable USB charger built into body of the product, 30 minutes of charge = 15 minutes of play
"¢ Flashing heartbeat eyes pulse when robot is at idle
"¢ Each color (orange, blue, black, and green) operates on own frequency, allowing for multi-player racing and battling