The day after posting a video of our first prototype, we stumble into the lab to find ourselves on the front page of Engadget via RobotGossip. Talk about a wake-up call! We're thrilled (if a little stunned) with the resulting flood of interest - but we'd like to take the time to clear up a few things that seem to be floating around first.
A couple misconceptions we'd like to clarify:
- All Echoes are bears. As much as we love Ursidae, we're fans of other form factors as well. (Gui, for instance, has a thing for baby seals.) The teddy bear just happened to be the first prototype we made; we're working on other animals and humanoids in the lab right now and plan to explore non-character form factors (for instance, an Echo on your cell phone or a conference badge) in the future.
- Echoes are matchmakers for the socially impaired. We consider ourselves pretty social people, and we'd like to use them too! As Joe said in our reply to Engadget, we think the real power of Echo is in non-romantic matchings; we'd like to help people find new friends, collaborators, and business partners as well. (However, if an Echo ends up introducing you to the love of your life, that's great - let us know and we'll celebrate with you.)
- An Echo is only useful if other people have them too. We're trying to design Echoes so that they're compelling little robots with other functionalities in their own right outside of the local social networking system. There's only a single functioning Echo prototype right now, but people have been crowding around it wherever we've taken it, so we think it's going quite well on that front.
--the echorobotics team (Gui, Andrew, Eric, Joe, and Mel)