Sony Rolly Announced

$350 US, available only in Japan (9/29/07).

Engadget’s notes here. Videos here. Original post and commercial here. Update: Akihabara News has a hands on video.

1GB of audio storage and can stream from bluetooth devices which support A2DP. Clever UI – hold the Rolly vertically, twist the top wheel to change the song. Twist the bottom wheel to change the volume. Moves, spins, moves its flippers to the music. Can be choreographed.

It does not seem to be programmable. However, if it can be controlled at a very granular level in real time via bluetooth, it may not need to be in order to be a basic robotics platform. Time will tell.

When I first read about the Rolly, I started pricing out how to builid something comparable using a Nintendo DS, a Palm TX or a Nokia Internet Tablet as the guts. All seem doable, for less than the cost of the Rolly (if you already have one of those devices), but they will be bigger, uglier and less durable than the Rolly. Still, a solution based on one of those devices would be much more programmable and would have a wifi connection.

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