Ozobot doesn't really look like much, but it could represent a huge leap forward for digital gaming. The diminutive device, unveiled today at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, fits in the palm of your hand - or the surface of an iPad. In spite of its small size, however, it packs some serious power.
Billed as "the first multi-surface smart bot," Ozobot is equipped with the capacity to recognize shapes, colors, and lights, allowing it to interact with both mobile and physical games in an appropriate fashion. According to the robot's designer, it's capable of reacting to "over 1,000 digital codes and instructions," and is equipped with a rechargeable battery which runs for around forty minutes on a single charge.
The robot will launch later this year (somewhere around Christmas 2014), with four games available out-of-the-box. One title, previewed at CES 2014, pits two Ozobots against one another in a race around the table, making use of both a tablet and a physical race-track. The track is filled with bits of code which make the robot speed up, reverse, or slow down; players can purchase a set of tracks for the race-course or draw their own. Another game will have players drawing out a maze with a pencil and paper, which Ozobot will then attempt to blunder its way through.
Well before the bot releases, Ozobot's creator intends to release an SDK to allow developers to craft their own Ozobot-compatible games and activities. By doing this, they hope to avoid the major sticking point of other, similar devices which, though unique suffered from a distinct lack of content. The team behind Ozobot will also be hard at work developing new content, as well:
"While we're confident that the launch titles are fun and show off the potential of Ozobot," said CEO Nader Hamda, "we're also hard at work developing more games and providing interested third parties a way to develop new physical and digital games and apps using Ozobot."
For those of you interested in acquiring an Ozobot of your very own, it'll be launching as a Kickstarter project on January 15, where you'll be able to pre-order one just in time for Christmas.