The Tipron, developed by Japanese smart device maker Cerevo, looks like a white eye on a sleek robotic stalk and wheeled base — a child's friendly sidekick droid in some '70s science fiction movie. It has one purpose: to move around your house and project things on walls. I assume there is a segment of the population that has always wanted a mobile robot projector; in fact, another one debuted two years ago. The rest of us can enjoy it for what it is: the prototypical weird CES gadget.
It's hard to say how well the Tipron fulfills its intended purpose on a crowded show floor, especially given the bright lights and lack of a screen to show off the projection quality. It's managed via a smartphone app that acts like a remote control for both the projector head and the robot itself. While moving, the Tipron folds up and slowly rolls wherever it's directed. With a button tap, it extends into projection mode, where users can change the angle and keystone of an image.
Wake up to news, Twitter, or traffic conditions
The projector can show individual videos or files, but it's apparently meant for YouTube channels, Twitter lists, and other things that lend themselves to automation. Besides its cute factor, this automation is what makes Tipron more valuable than, say, a wireless projector that you carry from room to room. Once you've maneuvered the device to a specific place in your home, you can set it to remember the location and return on its own, doing some basic sense-and-avoid using a camera at the top. You'll select content by picking from a list of options in the app.
Why might you want to do this? Tipron's creators suggest that before you wake up, the projector could leave its charging stand and navigate towards your bed, angling itself towards the ceiling. When you wake up, it can automatically project news, traffic data, your calendar, or other useful information. Later in the day, it might roll out and substitute for your TV.
Again, someone out there is probably reading this post with excitement, thinking of the possibilities that a robot projector offers. If you happen to be one of those people, you can get a Tipron this spring, apparently around April or May. It will be released in Europe, the US, and Japan, and it will cost between $1,000 and $2,000 — the exact price doesn't seem to have been decided. Otherwise, you can vicariously enjoy the Tipron's transformative properties here.