This Smartphone-Controlled Robot Wants To Dance On Your Desk

Just don't ask him to do 'the robot', please

Plen desktop robot

Plen desktop robot

Will Styer

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.