Pitched as ‘the friendly home assistant you’ve been waiting for,’ Aido can help with chores, handle schedules and play with your kids. InGen Dynamics founder and CEO Arshad Hisham explains the science fiction inspiration behind his creation and why the home robot will make a great companion for children.
Campaign status: Funded
Where did the idea for Aido come from?
As a big science fiction fan, I have always been fascinated by the various robots in popular culture – Serge from Caprica, R2-D2, Data from Star Trek and WALL·E to name a few. I always dreamed about having the perfect robot companion that is useful, affordable and sleek.
Over the years, I realised that the cost to build a truly cutting edge robot was steadily decreasing even as the technology was maturing.
After doing extensive studies on the feasibility, economics and practicality of building a home robot, I decided that the average home was ready for Aido.
How does Aido work?
Aido’s interface runs on Android, as this gives users access to millions of apps on the Google Play Store.
However, Android was not powerful enough for what Aido had to tackle at home, hence the Android- LLinux hybrid architecture.
We also chose a ballbot design for Aido’s mobility as it suited the home environment well. It also uses a combination of technologies to determine its location at home.
Why did you choose to use Indiegogo to launch Aido?
Indiegogo is a wonderful platform to launch Aido as it has a strong community of backers interested in robotics.
What has early reaction so far been like for Aido?
Early reaction to Aido has been phenomenal. It raised $150,000 on Indiegogo within the first 12 hours.
What are your expectations for Aido?
We are looking at Aido being used as a friendly home robot. The market for consumer and business robots is forecast to explode in the next few years, driven by a growing number of smart homes and devices, cheaper and more powerful technology components and rapid acceptance of home robotics products.
A recent report from Business Insider Intelligence predicted the market for consumer and business robots to reach $1.5 billion by 2019.
This market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17 per cent until then, seven times faster than the manufacturing robot market.
We believe a robot like Aido, which has been designed to be used at home, will become an important player in the home robotics space.
Aido has smashed its goal on Indiegogo. Has this taken you by surprise?
We are delighted with the response towards Aido.
We had been running campaigns and engaging with potential backers over the last month, and knew many of our backers were extremely enthusiastic about Aido.
The RRP is expected to be around $900. How can toy retailers get on board?
As of now, we are looking to deliver an awesome product to our backers.
We will be opening up our discussions on the retail front once we first fulfill the demand by Indiegogo backers. Our expected date to deliver Aido to backers is October 2016.
How can Aido be used as a toy?
We would love for Aido to be used by children and we have put in a lot of thought into making Aido a great companion for kids.
For example, Aido has a storyteller module that can read and perform stories from around the world, a HD multimedia projector that allows kids to research info and see it in a visual format and a range of cool interactive games.
While designing Aido’s mobility function, we also factored in accidental knocks and nudges.
Aido counters sudden changes to its balance with a set of retractable legs that spring out from the base to prevent it from keeling over.
Users can push Aido, and the legs will spring out to provide immediate support, and the robot will quickly try to stabilise by itself and draw the legs back in.
Plus, Aido does not have any removable tiny parts that can cause a choking hazard, and also supports Android parental controls.
What’s the next stage for you with Aido?
We are looking to fulfill demand by our Indiegogo backers and then explore retail options.
We have already received angel investments and leading Silicon Valley venture capitalists have expressed interest in a term sheet.
We are also looking forward to a community of developers extending Aido’s functionality through its SDK.