Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Mystery Luna robot isn't made by Apple or Google

Ready for a big home robot? Full-size household humanoid out of California to ship for $3,000.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
2 min read

RoboDynamics' Fred Nikgohar poses with Luna. SchultzeWorks

Rumor had it that Apple or Google was going to release this vaguely humanoid robot, and of course rumor was wrong. Turns out it's a California telepresence company called RoboDynamics.

The robot is named Luna and is intended to be a programmable, open-source household companion. SchultzeWorks, also in California, did the design.

There's little information about Luna on the RoboDynamics Web site other than a description of it being "the world's first personal robot," which would have Sony's Aibo spinning in the pet cemetery. Actually, there are several claimants to that title.

According to IEEE Spectrum, however, Luna is just over 5 feet tall and weighs 65 pounds. It has an 8-inch LCD screen, camera and microphone systems, as well as 10-bit wheel encoders and a PrimeSense 3D Sensor.

It runs on a Linux-based system called LunaOS and can operate for four to eight hours on a full battery charge. It seems to be able to navigate autonomously. If you adjust its arms, it can carry a tray like a waiter.

As seen in the PR video below, it uses the LCD screen to display facial expressions. (If you're going to introduce a humanoid robot, I think Vangelis makes for dubious theme music. Well, maybe the "Blade Runner" soundtrack would work for androids).

RoboDynamics also developed a telepresence robot called TiLR, the basis for Luna. CEO Fred Nikgohar apparently sees Luna as a potentially revolutionary product that can innovate the home robot market because it's open-source and relatively affordable. The company plans to start shipping Luna this year for $3,000 apiece.

Interested? Sign up for info on the RoboDynamics page here.