Moorebot Robot Aims To Bring Fun To Your HomeBy - 02/15/2017
With affordable home robots popping up everywhere, there’s now a new option loosely based on the all-seeing eye. This one, however, knows that at times you might want a little privacy, something it’s more than willing to provide.
Moorebot is a one-eyed robot/camera combination. He’s not exactly a personal robot because he lacks the ability to move around and go where you need him to go, but he’s definitely a camera and definitely has robotic capabilities.
We were introduced to Moorebot at CES 2017. He’s designed to sit on a flat surface (e.g. desks, shelves, tables), or you can mount him upside down using a mounting bracket. If you do so, his camera will automatically adjust its orientation.
Conceptualized by Pilot Labs, the bot is made of three moving parts:
- A Head
- An Eyelid
- An Eyeball
The head pans on top of the base while the panning motion allows Moorebot to see from side to side. The eyelid replicates eyelid movements, like blinking and shutting when he’s asleep. The eyelid also physically covers the camera when you want privacy. Finally, the eyeball contains the camera’s lens. The eyeball helps make Moorebot more realistic by allowing him to express emotion. For example, if he opens his eye wide, he’s shocked. If he shuts his eye, he’s bored. There’s also a small LED panel that flashes to represent his mouth, but only when he wants to show emotion.
Facial Recognition and Camera Integration
While he can pretend to have his own emotions, what’s more fascinating is that he can also guess yours. Facial recognition will be pushed out via a firmware update sometime this month. At CES, Rose Thibodeaux of Home Alarm Report was able to demo this feature live. Moorebot followed her face and tried to guess if she felt happy, sad, surprised, etc. based on her expression.
Moorebot was also able to follow her face in a crowd. While filming, you don’t have to sit still. You can move around, and Moorebot will follow and record your antics. The camera has a 1080p resolution and 110-degree viewing angle. You can also use the camera to watch your home from anywhere, take pictures, and record videos on demand, but Moorebot lacks the ability to trigger recording without a nudge from you. To record video or take pictures, you must either use your voice or the mobile app. Videos and photos are stored on a 2GB on-board storage device, but you can extend the memory by adding a larger microSD card. Moorebot can support up to a 32GB card. Pilot Labs also plans to add cloud storage in the future.
Another cool feature is the “almost VR” experience Moorebot can provide. You can use your phone’s accelerometer to control Moorebot while streaming,
It is IP-based peer-to-peer (P2P) camera, so view[ing] home remotely is not a problem. The cell phone’s Gsensor can also control the camera rotation, almost like a VR, almost. Source.
More About Voice Control and Interaction
Moorebot can be pretty helpful as a voice assistant. However, he doesn’t offer anything existing voice assistants can’t already do. You can ask him questions, tell him to set reminders, make him read bedtime stories, or ask him to tell a joke. To access his voice features, simply start your sentence with “Mr. Moore” or “Moore”. The name Mr. Moore conjures up an image of a British butler, but his voice is more Minion than British debonair. He’s also rather soft spoken. At CES, we could barely hear his tiny voice. Of course, this should be less of a problem in your home with less background noise.
Minion-esque voice aside, you should know that while he may not always be watching, much like the Amazon Alexa, he is always listening. It’s highly recommended that you keep Moorebot plugged into a power source; however, he can run on batteries for up to 2 hours.
Moorebot can also be a companion for kids. He includes voice games, like spelling bee and teach & learn. He can also play music and do an “eye dance” – his eyeball will groove to the music.
Security & Home Automation
If you want to use Moorebot for home security, too bad. You can stream videos to your smartphone, but he lacks sensors to make his camera more intelligent. As mentioned above, he can’t trigger recordings because he doesn’t have a motion sensor and he can’t protect your home at night because he lacks night vision. He’s a toy. He was made for fun, not security.
But that’s not to say he won’t have security features in the future. Mr. Moore’s SDK is open to willing developers, and he does have a Zigbee module. If desired, third-party developers can enhance his home security potential. For example, Moorebot is already waiting on a firmware update to connect to Amazon Alexa. Still, he really needs an IFTTT integration to be considered a viable home security device.
If you’re looking for something similar to Moorebot with security features, you should check out HUGO. HUGO is another Pilot Labs creation in partnership with Hubble Connected. HUGO has all of Moorebot’s abilities, including an Amazon Alexa Integration. In addition, he offers motion, sound, and temperature sensors, making him a more viable option for home security. He also offers cloud storage for motion events. There are both free and paid cloud plans.
Price And Availability
Pilot Labs completed a successful IndieGoGo campaign to fund the production of Moorebot. Raising more than 300% of their goal and knocking out two stretch goals, Moorebot is now in the hands of backers. You can buy your own for $249. On the other hand, HUGO is coming soon. Early reports suggest that the retail cost will be around $300. If that’s true, I would say that it’s well worth the extra $50 for the added security features, if you are willing to wait.
I wouldn’t say you should buy Moorebot, but I’m also not saying you shouldn’t. I’m looking for a robot that can enhance your life and protect your home. Moorebot is a toy. If you are looking for something fun, high-tech, and considerably inexpensive, check him out. If you’re looking for other options, check out Buddy, Aido, BIG-i, Maya, Zenbo, Riley, LG Rolling Bot, or Orbii.