Technology

At Connect, ‘Romo’ and ‘Double’ offer glimpse of robotic future

Buyers can use robots to take virtual tours of homes

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two robots strutted their stuff at Real Estate Connect Wednesday, giving attendees a glimpse of technology that could soon change the way people interact remotely with one another, not to mention scout out homes. A rover that uses an iPhone or iPod as its brain, "Romo" is a pet and education tool as well as a "remote avatar" that users can control from a desktop or mobile device to tour space or communicate with others, said Romotive founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo. Rinaudo described Romo as a "Skype on wheels" and piloted one around the stage of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square's ballroom this afternoon. One customer uses Romo to baby-sit nieces while their mother takes naps or cooks dinner in another room, Keller said. Another used it to communicate with his kids after undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer. In real estate, the robot could enable buyers to immediately "tour" Romo-inhabited homes without having to schedule an appointment. “T...