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Robi the Subscription-based Robot

This little two-pound robot is sent in pieces, over an 18-month period. It's up to you to put him together. (Photo credit: De Agostini Publishing USA.)
This little two-pound robot is sent in pieces, over an 18-month period. It’s up to you to put him together. (Photo credit: De Agostini Publishing USA.)

A Professor from the University of Tokyo is selling robots, piece by piece, to those willing to pay for an subscription. For $89.99 per month (plus shipping and handling), subscribers get parts and a full color manual explaining how to build each part of the bot. At the end of the 18-month subscriptions, subscribers will have put together all the components of the 13 inch humanoid.

Known as Robi the Robot, the little guy can dance, at as a universal remote, and change the color of his eyes to express emotion. He can also say about 250 English words and understands more than 250 commands. Microphones in Robi’s head help him turn orient to whoever is speaking. (His head an pelvis can rotate a full 360 degrees.)

“Until now, we always paid too much attention to robots’ functionality,” says Robi’s designer, Tomotaka Takahashi. “With Robi, I tried to focus on communication and emotions. Robi has no practical function, except the pleasure of those who share their time with him.”

Robi the Robot comes pre-soldered. Only a screwdriver is required to put the pieces together, and that comes with the first shipment.

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