CES brought us the grand unveiling of the Ozobot seen below. While it looks like little more than a marble, it’s actually much much more. The tiny robot uses a camera on its base to follow lines on a paper, allowing it to follow paths that you draw for it. The camera is also able to detect color, and then operate on a set of instructions based on that color. For example, if Red means turn around, the Ozobot will make a U-Turn as soon as it encounters any red in its path.
The Ozobot’s path can be tracked via a companion app that can be tied to a smartphone. However, the applications of this technology extend into the video game world. Imagine playing a game of Mario Party on a real board; the Ozobot could represent your characters and could move as you move in the game. It could feed information about the space it's on back to the game, allowing you to build and customize your board layouts as you choose. This opens up a whole new world of video game interaction with plain old cardboard board games.
Unfortunately, the unit will cost a pretty penny. A single Ozobot will cost $60 when they hit store shelves next year. The Ozobot team is planning a Kickstarter campaign to get the word out, fund its production, and also offer cheap pre-orders.
Former Contributing Writer