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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Control a Tankbot with your iPhone or Android for some desktop fun



text.jpg.html.jpegStuck in that cubicle at work and feeling a little lonely? Looking for a pet you can keep on your desk? No, I'm not talking about a fish tank. I'm talking about a gadget. Check out the TankBot from Desk Pets International.

The TankBot is a small robot you can control with your smartphone or tablet. But even when you don't have time to play, TankBot can roam about your desk on its own using two of it's three modes. In autonomous maze-solving mode, TankBot uses infrared sensors to navigate around the obstacles. This makes the TankBot like a tiny Roomba vacuum that doesn't suck. In free-roaming mode TankBot will aggressively stake it's claim to the surrounding territory while emitting various sounds including aggressive growls or impatient honks and even a helpless cry when it tips over.

mzl.cxvpcyot.320x480-75.jpgIn the third mode you take control, using a free app for iOS or Android devices. Your mobile device talks to TankBot using the included iDesk Pets universal remote that plugs into the headphone jack of your mobile device. A built-in USB charger makes it easy to "feed" your new pet when needed with 40 minutes of feeding providing 15 minutes of play time. Available in four colors (orange, blue, black, and green), each TankBot operates on it's own frequency so you can put your bot in the ring to rumble with the boss's and negotiate that long-overdue raise.

The TankBot is available for $24.99 at Radio Shack and Toys “R” Us nationwide

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:14am]


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