Gaming with a real robot is an interactive way to play games in real world using the robot as a platform and mobile devices or gesture for control. The interaction between robot and player involve intense player movements compared with virtual games. It is no surprise that robots took many jobs at factories. Now, they are ready to be present in every moment of our lives.
The games are mainly used for entertainment and there are not rare the moments when the night catches me playing my favorite game in front of my computer. Interaction with virtual games is simple and in most cases requires a keyboard and a mouse. One feature that distinguishes virtual games by real games is the ability to participate in physical activities during the game. More than that, any user can set up a multiplayer game so that human robot interaction includes a large number of people.
Gaming with real robots has a great potential to grow in the future. New games and new robots appearing regularly once the popularity of social and service robots is increasing. Playing with a robot is totally different to play with a human friend. Playing with a friend is full of emotions, emotions that are not found mostly in a relation with a robot.
Over the years humans learned how to utilize the games. These can be used for education, as motivational tools, for entertainment, and the list goes on. Robots are used in many areas of our world and in society, for almost all activities. From industrial to service robots, they increase the presence in our lives.
New gadgets like smartphones or tablets create a friendly environment to connect with robots. Robotics manufacturers links the robots with gadgets and the result is the creation of new possibilities for interaction. Even more, the robot can be controlled remotely using just a smartphone or a tablet and a series of applications with graphic interface for control.
How we interact with robots
Research done in the gaming industry revealed a number of video game effects on humans. Some video gamers try to use the virtual experience in real life with a serious impact on behavior. At this moment is safe to play games with real robots, an assertion supported by the list of robots presented below.
The return to offline interactive games was in 2006 once with the launch of Nintendo Wii. Nintendo Wii was the first motion-controlled gaming system which in turn inspired some competitors like Microsoft to release on the market the Microsoft Kinect console or Sony with Move console.
There are many methods of interaction between human and robot. These methods include facial expressions, movements, words, remote-control, and mobile devices or computers. The method that almost overtook the man-robot connection in gaming is gadgets. Is very simple and intuitive to control robots using applications and iPhone, iPad, or any device with Android OS installed.
At this chapter I made a list to find out about the benefits while playing with robots. The list can be expanded with new benefits according to new types of robots that will appear in coming years.
- single and multiplayer games;
- engage in games with other robotics units;
- can be added game accessories;
- move while playing;
- we can play anywhere;
- development of imagination and direct physical activity;
Real Robots Used To Play Real Games
I have to admit that the list with real robots used to play games is short at this moment. The list includes five robots which can be controlled using special designed controllers or any mobile device with iOS or Android installed.
Maybe this is the first but not the single one robotic platform designed for playing games in real world. Roboni-i is an intelligent robot with a wide range of sensors that can sense the environment and can explore the room in autonomous mode. List of sensors includes 16 infrared, 2 touch, and RFID sensors.
Roboni-i is controlled using a handheld controller and wireless communication protocol. In multiplayer mode the robot can be connected with others robotic units.
The robot can be reprogrammed and the user can upload customized games while the robot is connected to a computer. Equipped with two wheels, Roboni-i has 360-degree range of motion and an incredible agility.
Control unit display various robot status on a LCD screen including current game mode and battery life.
Sphero is a robotic ball designed by Orbotix based on idea to create a new type of gaming system. The ball can be controlled only using mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. It can be controlled with a tilt, touch, or swing from your smartphone or tablet. Used especially for gaming, the robot provide a wide variety of applications including multiplayer games, basic programming lessons, explore augmented reality, or controller for on-screen gameplay.
A long list with games are available for downloading on your gadget and ready to start competition, race in the water, or even play a game of tag. All these applications and games could be downloaded using one of the iTunes App Store or Google Play platforms. Sphero is compatible with any of iPhone (5, 4S, 4, and 3GS), iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (3rd, 4th, and 5th generation), or any Android devices with OS version started with 2.2, 2.3.3+ and 3.0+.
The rabbit is an interactive robot ideal for funny companion or educational games like reading or learning. Karotz speaks, sees, listens, obeys and wiggles his ears. Connected to Internet, the rabbit can be used to make free calls or find the latest news about weather, sports, horoscope, etc. Additional include applications for Facebook or Twitter to stay connected in any moments with friends and family.
Away from your home the robot may be your house bodyguard using an alert system when someone enters in house. A lot of applications are available and ready to be downloaded from karotz site.
“Let me fly like a bird in the sky” – makes us believe the famous Status Quo band. Yes, we can fly to the sky with AR.Drone, a radio controlled flying quadrotor helicopter build by Parrot. Using devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android OS based smartphones/tablets the robot can be controlled while flying and capture images with a HD 720P front camera.
The drone has a robust structure made from durable plastic and carbon fiber tubes. Four electric motors keep in the air the robot and change direction or speed at a simple movement of the device. AR.Drone can be used to capture picture, to learn how to control a flying toy, or for gaming. The company releases at least two games including piloting game in augmented reality or racing game.
Hello Kitty is a robot designed to keep companion during times when a child or even a mature person needs. It could be a friend or a partner for guessing games. The robot is equipped with moving parts and arms while for voice recognition it uses a microphone.
It is easy to intuit what robots gives us in the future, something that can be characterized by a single word: entertainment. The robots took places in our homes, our offices, and now in our free time. This is one of the reasons that I love robots. They could be friends, co workers, and games players.