Pitbull's "Shake Señora" begins playing. A boxy white robot that looks straight out of some '60s sci-fi movie starts moving multiple joints to the rhythm. Its single camera-eyed head nods to the beat.
"Oh, I love dancing to Pitbull," it explains. "This is awesome."
This all happens at the 5:42 mark of the Kickstarter pitch video for the XLR-ONE, a 3D-printed robot companion project, and should tell you two things: (1) This is like no robot you've ever seen, and (2) it obviously has Miami roots.
The XLR-ONE, dubbed "the droid you've been looking for," is the project of 47-year-old Kendall resident and robotic and 3D-printing enthusiast Antonios Ameralis. With a week to go, the project has reached 55 percent of its $10,000 Kickstarter goal.
Ameralis, a married father of two, says his bot can do a whole lot: help teach your children via flash cards, provide home security, dance, bring you things, and even MC and DJ your next party. Yes, it can DJ -- and it's a DJ with personal service.
"My mother-in-law owns a banquet hall, and we brought it to a birthday party," Ameralis says. "We had all the music programmed and run through Wi-Fi. With the facial recognition and a QR code, the robot was able to recognize the birthday boy and was able to follow him around, take requests, and name and play songs."
The XLR-ONE can also be your child's part-time tutor. Parents can create QR-coded flash cards that the robot can recognize. Through voice recognition, the robot can then determine if the child's answer is right or wrong.
Because the XLR-ONE is customizable, it can perform virtually any task you can imagine. But what exactly?
"The XLR-ONE is a three-phase product. You can buy it as a kit to assemble yourself or as another kit that offers more customization," Ameralis says, "or as a prebuilt robot."
Through the Kickstarter campaign, the pack starts at $499.
An XLR-ONE prototype
All parts are 3D-printed by Ameralis, which also offers personal customization. (There are three head shapes to choose from, for instance.) He also says his 3D-printed parts are designed to last decades. Ameralis, who has a design background that includes building custom action figures and play sets, is proud of his work.
"The difference between this and other products, first, is the price point. It's way below a lot of others on the market. A lot are two to three thousand [dollars] and don't do half of what this robot does," he says. "It's also larger scale -- 30 inches tall -- with a unique design. It doesn't have wires hanging out. A lot of others have their backs exposed. They look like an unfinished school project. Mine are designed to be visually pleasing and fully functionally. It can run around your house without wires coming out everywhere."
Orders will be sent out as soon as this May, and the Kickstarter campaign is designed to increase his 3D-printing output capabilities. Once the XLR-ONE officially hits the market, Ameralis and XL Robotics have bigger ambitions.
"This started as a hobby and has turned into a startup," he says.
He's working on other models, he says, including a full-size robot designed to work parties. He also wants to expand the robotics community in Miami by forming a makers' group with an eye toward introducing young kids to robotics.
"There's really nothing in Miami right now for someone to figure how to build their first robot or to get kids involved," he says.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!