Monday, 29 April 2013


The Rovio is the perfect remote-controlled robot, featuring some pretty useful technology to make it a gadget you’ll get hours of fun from. Essentially, you control the robot by using a standard web browser, which can be on your PC, your laptop, your mobile phone or your games console.
The Rovio also includes a VGA camera and a microphone, allowing you to use it for a little spying around the home or office. And the best bit, when the Rovio’s batteries start to run low, it will automatically return to its docking station to charge itself up!
The Rovio robot connects to a standard Wifi router, allowing it to work without any wires whatsoever. When you first get the robot, you’ll need to configure it to talk to your wireless network by connecting it to your PC or Mac via a USB cable. However, setting up the robot only takes a few minutes. Once you’ve configured the Rovio, you’re up and running using the very simple software. The software works on all major web including Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.

Thanks to a 3-wheel system, the Rovio is very maneuverable. This wheel system allows you to move in the Rovio any direction you wish, whilst still keeping the camera and microphone pointed in one direction. For example, the Rovio can move sideways even whilst the camera is facing forwards. This is not something you typically get with a radio controlled car! The camera has a VGA camera, which gives you an image size of about 640 pixels by 480 pixels (width x height), which is perfect for navigating the Rovio around obstacles.
So as you drive the Rovio remote control security robot around the office or your home, you’ll see a live video feed of what’s in front of the Rovio. The camera is mounted on an arm which can be raised or lowered. You can change the height of the arm from ground level, to a height for looking over small objects, to a 45 degrees angle (ideal for looking at people standing up)

The Rovio makes use of a infrared location system, which allows the Rovio to determine where it’s located in a room. This means you can set up ‘checkpoints’ around a room. Once the Rovio knows about checkpoints, the robot can move between these checkpoints without you needing to manually control the robot to that part of the room. It’s almost like a programmed route. This is perfect for setting up the Rovio to do automated tours around an office or house. You can even set the Rovio up to capture images at predefined points on the route, and have it email those snapshots to you!
Thanks to the included microphone and camera, you can remotely observe your home in real time. If you want to talk to anyone around the robot, the Rovio also has a builtin speaker. So you just speak into your microphone on your computer, and it’s relayed to the robot over the internet and played on the speaker! And of course, if the batteries run low, the robot will automatically home in on the charging dock and recharge itself too!
So the Rovio remote controlled robot really is the ultimate in radio/remote controlled gadgets. You get a buggy that’s really easy to drive, plus an effective spy camera and microphone for realtime streaming, plus software that you can use anywhere in the world and the robot will keep itself fully charged. What more could you ask for?
This is a guest article by Dan Harrison who used to design Spy Gadgets for private detectives and the police. Now he spends his time researching and designing covert spy cameras.

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