Many connected homes have a projector, an Android device, a sound system and maybe an autonomous robot (that usually cleans your carpets). Keecker, a new gadget that is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter, combines all of those into one robot that looks as if Eva from Wall-E and R2-D2 had a baby.
The Keecker will cost $1,990 for early birds — the first 20 units — and prices will rise to just under $5,000 as the Kickstarter becomes more successful. According to founder Pierre Lebeau, Keecker is hoping to ship its robots in six to eight months.
It’s impossible to put Keecker into a neat category. First of all, it’s a robot with wheels, and an Android or iOS app lets you control it remotely. It’s also a full-fledged entertainment system, with a 1080p DLP projector — not a dinky pico — and a hi-fi with a subwoofer. The idea is that you can watch videos or listen to music in rooms that weren’t set up for it. If you’d like to watch a movie in bed, wheel over the Keecker and project it on to your ceiling.
Eventually, the Keecker will have a mapping mode, where it defines where the rooms and walls in your house are, so you can press a button called “living room” and have the robot wheel over on its own.
The projector built into the Keecker is short throw, so it can project large images in tight spaces without moving the Keecker a long distance away from the wall you’re projecting your video on.
The Keecker is also an Android computer that is expected to get Google certification and the Play Store for apps. This means the Keecker can project Netflix, YouTube or basically anything with an Android app — even games. Since there’s no touchscreen on the Keecker, you control its Android brain with a remote app.
With all these high-powered gadgets built in, how long will the battery last? According to Lebeau, the Keecker gets six to seven hours of full usage (projector on, sound blasting) but has a standby time of a few weeks. When the Keecker is out of juice, it charges wirelessly on a custom cradle.
As Lebeau puts it, Keecker is meant to be a collective computer for the home. As tablets and phones — and especially smartwatches — become more personalized, there’s a niche for a device that lets families and homegroups share experiences, like watching a movie projected by a robot in your backyard.
But that’s simply the first use case. Lebeau is excited about the emerging behavior that the Keecker enables. For instance, it has a camera and several sensors built in, which measure humidity, carbon dioxide, and movement.
Lebeau imagines Keecker as a home sentry, so users can remotely have it check on a room while they’re away, for instance. The sensors and Android features bring up the possibility of having the Keecker become your connected home hub, with its various sensors being the trigger to turn on central air or lighting.
That’s why there will be an SDK specifically for Keecker, so that creative developers can take advantage of the new possibilities offered by putting an Android computer on wheels. But to attract new developers, there needs to be Keecker robots out in the wild, and this Kickstarter represents the first step.