An Oculus Competitor and an AI Robot Named Pudding

January 15. 2017. 4 mins read
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Not surprisingly, a majority of readers here at Nanalyze are from good ole ‘Murica. This means they’re probably going to have preconceived notions about people from other countries – like the Chinese. Some of these notions are true. The Chinese eat a lot of rice, drink a lot of tea, use liberal doses of Engrish to try and communicate with “ghost people” (which is what they sometimes refer to Western people as), and they love taking pictures:

The Chinese as a culture are equally as fascinating as they are amusing. They’re smart, they work hard, they believe in family values, they’re not afraid to copy the best technologies they can get their hands on, they’re good at math, and there is a isht load of them which means they’re the biggest market in the world. As investors, we should be keeping an eye on what they’re getting up to. Unfortunately, that’s not an easy task as we discovered while researching for our article on 7 of the Hottest Chinese Startups to Watch. Still, we try to keep up with the latest Chinese startups getting funded which recently led us to a Chinese company called Roobo.

About Roobo

Click for company website

Founded in 2014, Chinese startup Roobo took in a massive round of $100 million to develop 4 different product lines, each with it’s own appeal. The most interesting of these is their foray into virtual reality headsets with a cordless virtual reality headset called the Idealens K2:

The folks over at Road to VR reviewed this thing and said it’s ultra comfortable. They also mentioned Roobo has 230 engineers in total with a third working on VR hardware. Roboo is moving quick with another headset on the way – the M1000:

The company claims to have over 100 VR games, 1000 VR movies, and 200 VR apps. They’re also developing other VR hardware like cameras and tracking devices.

The next product from Roobo is a drone called the Skye Orbit which, they say, has the most precise tracking system in the world:

If you want a drone to track you, just how “precise” does it need to be, really? Nonetheless, the guys over at DRONELIFE got their hands on one and said there was a lot to like about the Skye Orbit. Weighing less than 3 pounds, the Skye Orbit has a 28 minute flight time and can livestream to Facebook so you can show all your friends how cool you are. Price points are expected to be between $899 and $1099.

The next product on offer is their AI robot called Pudding. While we covered a 11 different home robots in a previous article, Pudding is designed with kids in mind. Here’s what this $144 dollar robot can do based on Google’s AI powered translation which we took the liberty of translating to English for you:

  • The child turned into a small translator – Teaches your kids English
  • Round head, filled with one hundred thousand why – Answers questions using Wikipedia
  • Baby is the baby wisdom of stars – Tells your kids stories
  • Almighty parents a good helper – Teaches kids good habits like brushing teeth
  • I’ll help you love goes out – Conduct hi-definition video conferencing calls with your kids anytime
  • Infinite sprouting expression at any time flash – Text your kids

Here’s what Pudding looks like:

The above is the “McDull Edition” of Pudding which is shaped after a popular Chinese children’s character called McDull. McDull is this pig that’s not so bright and who has a special friend called Excreman. From Wikipedia:

One Christmas day, McDull produced a load of human-shaped dung called Excreman (屎撈人 jyutping: “si2 lou1 jan4”). After giving Excreman a scarf (made out of toilet paper) and a hat (actually a spittoon), he was brought by Excreman to dung-world. There, Excreman shares his wish with him: to become fertilizer for flowers.

Admit it, you’re just the slightest bit curious to know what Excreman looks like, aren’t you? Here he is:

So anyways, laugh all you want but “McDull Edition” Pudding is probably selling faster than hotcakes right now.

The other products from Roobo don’t seem to be anything groundbreaking. They have a bone induction headphone set called “Runbone” which allows you to wear headphones without having to put anything in your ears. There are at least 7 other manufacturers we know of that are selling bone induction headphones so nothing special here. They’re also selling a robot dog that uses facial recognition to identify family members and even intruders:

Word is they were planning on crowdfunding Domgy in the U.S. but it doesn’t seem to have made it here yet. We’re already aware of at least 11 home robots you can buy and one that acts like a dog wouldn’t be high on our list of things we’d like to own.

Takeaways here for investors? Well readers of yesterday’s article on HTC Corp should be paying pretty close attention to the VR offerings on display here. While HTC focuses on attacking the U.S. market, Roboo is attacking the Chinese market and has a nice war chest now to play with. It’s probably not a bad idea to get your kids a Pudding to teach them Mandarin because China shows no signs of slowing growth from where we sit.


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