NetTansor, a mobile robot, could keep an eye on the kids while the parents are out.

NetTansor, a mobile robot, could keep an eye on the kids while the parents are out.


NetTansor, a compact mobile robot designed for families and hobbyists, comes in a kit that features an onboard camera, wireless network connection, intelligent vision system, and PC software. Users can access NetTansor remotely from the Internet and drive it around the home to check on pets. Users can create programs for the robot to run entirely on its own, such as having the robot patrol the house and send pictures to a mobile phone.

NetTansor can recognize and respond to what it sees in specific locations in the home. For example, a parent can program NetTansor to recognize the kitchen and play a personal voice message if it sees a child with a box of cookies before dinner. Standing 12 in. tall, NetTansor has a three-wheel driving base, integrated video camera, microphone and speaker, along with a built-in wireless card and antenna.

The kit, so far available only in Japan, will sell for about $415. Japanese toymaker Consumers Bandai, worked with Evolution Robotics, Pasadena, Calif., a consumer robot company, to incorporate ViPR visual-pattern-recognition technology.