TankBot: Who Says a Robot You Control with Your iPhone Has to Break the Bank?

I think you probably know by now that we like remote control gadgets; we’re also big fans of iDevices. Put the 2 together–happiness squared! But as much as we love the AR Drone and its ability to allow your iDevice to control a high-tech copter, the $300 price tag may be a bit much for some. Enter: TankBot, the micro-robotic tank that uses your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch as a controller. The folks at Desk Pets International have been doing a great job of packing a ton of tech into desktop-size micro-robots (Skitterbot, TREKBOT) that charge via USB; but Tankbot takes their tech to a whole new level. Tankbot doesn’t just let you use your iDevice as a controller, it also lets you use its built-in accelerometer, allowing you to tilt-to-control. Plugging a small dongle into your headphone jack downloads the app, giving you full control of your Tankbot through your iDevice, making all of the Tankbot’s movement controllable through tilting–very cool.

Tankbot also requires zero batteries; the bot itself charges through your computer’s USB port, and the remote (your iDevice) has its own power source–talk about low maintenance! Tankbot also has IR sensors that keep him safe in his “free roaming” mode, and a 30 minute charge will yield 15 minutes of play–an excellent ratio in the RC world. Tankbot will make its debut at the New York Toy Fair this February and is set for a June release. Now for the price–ready? Under 20 bucks. Seriously. We’ll take 2…

Here’s the press release for more info:

Desk Pets International Rolls Out TankBot, an Innovative Micro-Robotic Toy That Uses Your Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch as the Remote

Debuting at the 2011 Toy Fair, TankBot is a sub-$20 toy that navigates mazes, avoids obstacles, and is fully controllable by your Apple device

Toronto, Canada – (January 19, 2010) – Desk Pets International (HK) Limited, creator of interactive micro-robotic toys and gadgets with big-play value, unveils TankBot, the world’s first sub-$20 micro-robotic toy that can be controlled by your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.  TankBot’s three modes allow it to navigate mazes, roam, and be fully controllable by your Apple device. With a built-in USB charger, battery cost is non-existent, giving TankBot hours of inexpensive playtime. Not available until June, TankBot will make its first public appearance at this year’s Toy Fair in New York City on February 13-16.

Desk Pets has revolutionized remote control toys by connecting their most recent micro-robot to today’s latest mobile technology. Each TankBot features a dongle that easily plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Utilizing Apple’s accelerometer technology, Desk Pets developed a program that enables TankBot to be controlled by simply tilting your mobile device. Tilt the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch forward and TankBot rolls forward, angle the phone right and TankBot instantly makes a right turn. TankBot even has a mind of its own. Switch to autonomous mode and using built-in IR sensors, TankBot can navigate a maze, avoid obstacles and interact with the users hand motions, all on its own.

Desk Pets International’s Managing Directors, Michael Trzecieski and David Piltz, have taken interactive toys to a new level by incorporating Apple devices as the main control. “We are the first company to develop a sub $20 toy with full compatibility with the Apple devices,” says Trzecieski. Piltz highlights TankBot’s autonomous mode that set it apart from other toys on the market. “Just waving your hands in front of the robot almost becomes addictive as it moves and reacts to what you do. You wait for it to slip up and it doesn’t, it consistently acts with a military precision.”

TankBot features include:

•    Incorporates Apple’s accelerometer technology to be fully controllable by tilt of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

•    Autonomous mode uses IR sensors to navigate mazes, avoid obstacles, and react with military precision

•    Free roaming mode with tank sounds

•    Retractable USB charger built into body of the product, 30 minutes of charge = 15 minutes of play

•    Flashing heartbeat eyes pulse when robot is at idle

•    Each color (orange, blue, black, and green) operates on own frequency, allowing for multi-player racing and battling

TankBot will be available starting June 2011 for under $20 at select retailers nationwide. To request additional information about Desk Pets International, please contact PR Representative Brad Hobbs at (305) 576-1171 x19 or by e-mail at [email protected] To learn more about Desk Pets International go to www.mydeskpets.com.

About Desk Pets International:

Founded in 2009 Desk Pets International (HK) Limited creates innovative and environmentally friendly micro-robotic toys and gadgets. Chosen as one of the top 30 toys by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) at Toy Fair 2010, Desk Pets is already making an impact on the toy market. Using its patent pending USB charging solutions and 5 function remote controller, Desk Pets has created highly interactive micro-robotic toys at an extremely affordable price. For more information, please visit www.mydeskpets.com.

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