The Parrot Jumping Sumo is the closest the French company has come to making a smartphone controlled car with the two-wheeler bot also capable of jumping and climbing up the walls.
Like the Parrot MiniDrone, there’s no pricing for the robot-insect, but it is expected to be available in 2014 primed for acrobatic and ground-based carnage which you can stream back to a smartphone or tablet.
Parrot Jumping Sumo – Design
Half robot, half insect, the menacing-looking bot is made from a durable plastic compound that Parrot says will help it withstand impact whether it’s bumping off walls or landing back safely on the ground. It’s dominated by two big, durable rubber wheels that can be controlled independently to make turning at a 90, 180 or a 360-degree angle easier to perform. The wheels can also be adjusted to move them nearer to the body giving it a much slimmer profile.
Giving the Sumo its leaping powers is a metal piston-style mechanism that helps it jump up to 80cm and lands on its wheels when it drops back down to the ground. Unlike the MiniDrone, the Sumo has a built-in QVGA 320 x 240 pixel camera to stream movements in real-time so you can control it from afar with a range of up to 160ft, which is around the same distance as the MiniDrone.
Parrot Jumping Sumo – Features
Working over Wi-Fi, the Sumo supports the dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802ac Wi-Fi standard to give it the extensive driving range with built-in accelerometer and gyroscope sensors to help keep things steady. Everything can be controlled by an iOS device like an iPhone 5S or an iPad Air with gesture control so you can swipe the screen to navigate movement and use a dedicated button to make the Sumo jump.
In terms of battery life, you’ll get 20 minutes of play time with the Sumo on full charge, again considerably more than what the MiniDrone is capable of.
Watching the Parrot representatives take control of the Sumo, the two-wheeler is a rapid mover that also has plenty of tricks in its locker including its impressive jumping prowess. It manages to land safely on two wheels although it looks a little trickier to pull off some of the more tricky movements from a phone. The QVGA camera does not delvier the sharpest video quality especially on the sharper, more high resolution Retina display. The lack of a HD camera will no doubt keep the price of the Sumo down.
We’ve been waiting to see if Parrot was capable of producing a smartphone controlled toy that works on the ground and the Sumo has all the ingredients to be a lot of fun. If Parrot can get the pricing right, there will be plenty of people both young and old pestering to own one when it finally lands.