One of the most fun smartphone accessories to come out of this year’s Mobile World Congress expo has to be LG’s Rolling Bot. It’s a spherical ball that rolls around on command from a smartphone, and includes a camera and laser pointer.
The bot can be controlled locally or remotely and is envisaged to be kept at home. When you’re away, you can remotely trundle around the house and check everything is OK via livestream—well, at least until you reach the stairs.
LG also thinks it might be up to the task of entertaining your pets when you’re not at home. To that end, there’s a laser pointer embedded in the bot. Anyone with cats knows they go nuts when they see a spot from a laser, so LG might be onto something with this idea.
At first glance—if you have a good memory—it’s a little reminiscent of Sony’s Q-Taro.
That was a prototype rolling robot that Sony developed in 2002. The device features audio and infrared sensors and would wake up when it sensed a person nearby and respond to the atmosphere in the room with gently glowing colored lights.
It appeared in March 2002 at the Robodex expo in Yokohama, but never made it on the market.
Most recently, the form factor is most closely associated with BB-8, the rolling robot from the latest movie in the Star Wars series.
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Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C.. He previously worked for IDG News Service as a correspondent in San Francisco and Tokyo and has reported on technology news from across Asia and Europe.