When Bill Gates verbalized his vision of a computer on every desktop it seemed far fetched – almost ludicrous – at the time. Computers were simple, occupied small rooms, cost an arm and a leg and were complicated to operate for most humans. A computer on every desk? A bold vision. A computer on every desk? Never going to happen. Look up, look around, you’ve just witnessed the power of a vision. We laugh in hindsight but many thought that vision insane at the time.
Today we carry computers in our pockets that are more powerful than many desktops on those desks today. The smartphone, our second brain, is just that – a brain. Best known for what runs on it (the operating system, the apps), it takes a creative mind to think of ways to leverage the processing power for other purposes. So, why not power the brain of a robot?
That’s what Keller Rinaudo and his Romotive co-founders thought when they built Romo, a smartphone-powered home robot. Their goal? Simple: To bring affordable robots to every household. The outcome? A toy with a personality you can’t help but like and an inspiring endeavour that will spark a child’s imagination on the possibilities.
Listening to Keller talk about Romo and robots, you get the sense that there are real similarities between what he is doing with robots and what Bill Gates did with computers. A robot in every home? Sounds crazy enough to work.
NB: I will be publishing a much longer, typical episode of UNTETHER.tv with Keller in the coming weeks. Be sure to subscribe to UNTETHER.tv to be notified when that is live.
About Keller Rinaudo
Keller Rinaudo founded Romotive alongside friends Phu Nguyen and Peter Seid. The startup makes Romo, an adorable miniature robot that harnesses the the powerful processor in every smartphone. Something between a personal robot and a pet, Romo has a personality thanks to controllable facial expressions and is able to roll around on a tank-like base. As CEO of Romotive, Rinaudo sets the strategic direction of the company, raises funds needed to scale quickly and focuses on growing the team through recruiting.
A 2009 Harvard graduate, Rinaudo worked with Dr. Yaakov Benenson and colleagues on biological computers — tiny devices made of RNA, DNA and proteins that, when implanted in the body, could work as molecular doctors signaling genes in need of treatment. Rinaudo is also a professional rock climber ranked top 10 in sport climbing. He has scaled alpine cliffs in France, underwater caves in Kentucky and the limestone towers of Yangshuo, China.