The Nerd Report

Breakthroughs and news from the local geek crew

Sure, your smartphone can talk the talk, but can it do the robot? Seattle-based robot enthusiasts Peter Seid, Phu Nguyen and Keller Rinaudo are the human minds behind local startup Romotive ( and the company’s pride and joy: “Romo,” a mobile robot that resembles a plastic toy tank and uses a smartphone as its brain. Users control Romo remotely from a smartphone, laptop, iPad or iPod Touch, and apps direct Romo to drive around, record and stream video and battle other Romos. Supporters who donated $78 or more during a Kickstarter campaign last fall will receive the first batch of Romos next month. The rest of us will have to wait until Romo is ready for prime time, scheduled for late 2012.