CES 2009: Robot roundup - WowWee, iRobot, Anybot

I've been slinking around the robotics hall at CES 2009 snapping the latest from the likes of WowWee, Mech RC and iRobot. For 2009, WowWee have extend

A hardy sphere, you can roll the SpyBall into a room and it'll right itself upwards with a little balancing wheel while a webcam protrudes from the top. Guiding it over a web connection through your computer, DS or PSP, you can then spy visually and aurally on whoever you please.

WowWee have also teamed up with Texas DLP to make their own Pico Projector, the Cinemin Swivel. Just the Optoma, but with a swivelling head, hook up a media source like an iPod and project your photos and movies guerilla style.

iRobot introduced their pet series iRoomba, developed with a love for big hairy balls of fluff and an improved version of the gutter clearing Looj robot, now with a slower, more careful work ethic and a rubber nozzle. Lovely.

But the tiebreak for the weirdest robots is between Paro's therapeutic seal robot (below) with dummy charger and the iRobot-esque Anybot.

Anybot is a big plastic avatar that will attend your meetings, parties and social functions for you, while you stay at home and broadcast your voice through its inbuilt speaker.

It also has a 5MP camera so you can see who you're talking to, nightvision, a screen so you can display your face and most disturbingly, a laser pointer. Just don't point that at us, Anybot.