Robots continue to show up in homes, factories, and hotels. So why not your desk? The 9-inch-tall Plen desktop bot is small enough to hang out next to your coffee mug and smart enough (thanks to a microprocessor and 18 tiny motors) to perform complex movements. It can disco dance, high-five, kick a small soccer ball, lift itself up when it falls over, and even hug another robot.
You control Plen by way of a smartphone app. It comes programmed with hundreds of moves. If you get bored with Plen’s preset routines, you can drive it with a joystick on the smartphone screen. Because its software is open-source, coders can invent new moves. For those who can’t code, a software kit lets you manipulate Plen’s arms and legs using a robot avatar on a desktop computer. Puppeteering has never been more fun.
To purchase the latest version, visit the PLEN Store.
This article was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Popular Science.