Robots are awesome. Controlling robots with your smartphone is even more awesome. There are a number of machines available that can be controlled with the iPhone, whether it’s over wifi or Bluetooth. Everything from remote controlled cars and six-legged robots to bipedal walking machines that can kick.
Take a look at some of our favorite iPhone controlled robots:
The AR Drone is available to consumers, and makes use of iOS devices to provide an cool augmented reality experience via the Drone’s camera. The AR Drone is a sweet looking machine, but its only real setback is the $300 pricetag. It’s not terrible for what’s built into the Drone, but it may turn off most consumers who are just looking for a fun toy.
This R2D2 Head is controlled by the iPhone’s accelerometer and touchscreen. Tilting the device makes R2D2’s head spin. Pretty neat, but we’ll probably never see it on the market as it was custom-built by a Star Wars fan.
This Robot has an iPhone for a head. By touching the screen, users can define a chain of preset movements in order to make the robot carry out some actions. IT needs a little work, because it has some trouble standing up, but considering that the machine is bipedal, it’s doing okay standing on its own.
iPhone Lego Mindstorms NXT Robot
This one doesn’t seem all that bad if you have two iPhones. This is just a demo, but it’s kind of a DIY project and users can build it themselves with the set of instructions at the website shown at the end of the video. Sounds like a fun weekend project.
We aren’t sure that this is the kind of project you try at home unless you have a huge driveway. Even then, it can’t be all that cheap, and it probably isn’t all that safe.
Spykee, the little robot in the above video, is controlled with an iPhone through Mobile Safari. Spykee has a little camera that makes it possible for the user to see where it is at all times. The refresh rate is painfully slow, but the concept is still kind of cool.
Usually things with six legs are a bit unwelcome in the home, but this one looks kind of friendly. The beginning of the video shows the machine being controlled by an HTC Hero, and the iPhone controls jump in at around 2:20.
iPhone Bluetooth Robot
This isn’t as “robot-ish” as some of the other videos we’ve seen. Still, it’s a cool way to control an RC car over Bluetooth. That, and it’s just as possible to see this controlling other types of machines
This is a very cool method of controlling a robot. It’s probably the best we’ve seen. It’s very intuitive looking. By simply mimicking the way a human moves by “walking” your fingers on the iPhone’s touchscreen, you can make this robot walk around and even kick. It’s very cool.
MIDbot Mini Bluetooth Controlled Painter
The little guy in this demonstration can draw or paint. In the video above, it’s equipped with a pen. We don’t see a whole lot of movement with it, but it would be interesting to see interesting drawing patterns that could be made with it. Our favorite part is the little dome-shaped head with the blue light.
Lego sure has evolved over the years. Who ever would have thought that one day we would be controlling our Lego toys with Android devices. At least we can say that one of our favorite childhood toys has grown with us.
We can’t read what it says, but we figure it’s explaining the controls. The robot is pretty awesome looking, and his dance moves are pretty rad. Well, he’s not really dancing, but we can pretend he is!
Bluetooth Remote Control Toy With Nexus One
Here’s another one that’s actually a remote control car, but if the iPhone can do RC cars, Android can too! The car is paired with the phone via Bluetooth. It’s interesting that it uses a joystick style control rather than a separate forward/reverse left/right control scheme.
Using Three Android Phones to Control a Robot
This may be a little overkill; it uses three phones to control the robot. The guy in the video is using a Droid, a Nexus One, a G1 and two Google accounts. Whew! That’s a lot of stuff. Still, he’s probably having a good time.
This is an Android controlled Android robot. He makes really cool robotic speaking sounds, and makes us wish we had our own little Android robot guy at home just to play with. Google needs to sell this little dude! When it raises its arms, it’s actually kinda cute.
Robots, robots and more robots
The iPhone-controlled machines above are only a fraction of what people have been able to accomplish. Many are home projects by people who know electronics; others are consumer toys and electronics like the AR Drone. Personally, we can’t wait for the classic TV show Robot Wars to relaunch with iPhone and Android-controlled robots: