Co.Design

Ex-Googler Invents A Robotic Butler For Home Entertainment

Keecker is a video projector that also syncs with smartphones so you can turn any wall into a screen for watching movies, checking email, and more.

Meet Keecker, a robot that looks like Wall-E, scoots around like a Roomba, and just might represent the future of home entertainment.

Keecker is a video projector that also syncs with smartphones, so that users can just as easily project their inbox on the wall or the ceiling in the morning as they can watch an episode of Girls in bed later that night. And unlike other projectors, Keecker is mobile, doesn't need a cord, and has a battery charge good for about a week. Announced this week at CES, Keecker was designed by Pierre Lebeau, a former product manager at Google.

Up until now, we've experienced digital technology largely on rectangular screens that we either remotely control or touch and swipe (although that could be changing). If we want to watch a movie on anything bigger than a laptop, we're probably plopping down and watching in a fixed spot.

Keecker lets you watch anywhere (well, anywhere there's enough wall space and no stairs to climb). It isn't the first such idea we've seen. Openarch, for example, is an augmented reality prototype of a smart home where screens pop up on the walls in tandem with your daily routine, showing metrics like how much water your plants need, or what's on your morning to-do list. Unlike this or any other Minority Report-esque projects, Keecker is a fairly simple piece of hardware that’s slated for a soon-to-launch Kickstarter campaign.

The robot isn’t without kinks. Not unlike a remote control car, Keecker trails after its human owner from room to room like a little butler, via the smartphone app—an interaction that for some people might range from pesky to deadly (if tripped on). And some of its promises have a dystopian ring to them: if Keecker is designed to create a more immersive approach to digital media, it's not hard to imagine a home where there's no escape from Facebook home pages or email notifications.

But all in all, Keecker seems like a restrained way to advance what we already do, by freeing the screen from its fixed spot on the wall and the tangles of cords keeping it there. It has storage, presumably for some favorite movies, and even includes features found in other connected home devices—like the Nest smoke detector or the Spotter—like measuring the house's CO2 levels and temperature, or alerting users to unusual activity when they aren't home.

Keecker's Kickstarter campaign has yet to launch, but the robot is currently estimated to cost between $4,000 and $5,000. Check it out here.

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