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Bocco is a robot that helps you stay in touch

Skype and FaceTime are great at helping us stay in touch, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a physical presence when you’re absent? Meet Bocco.

He’s a robot who takes your place when you’re not there. That doesn’t mean he takes over the parenting duties, but that he’s a conduit for you to interact with and communicate with your loved ones.

When someone closes the door, a sensor sends an alert to the Bocco app on your smartphone. You can then record a voice message that will play through Bocco. Bocco lights up and moves to let people at home know he’s got a message.

Those at home can then record their own message to send back to you, which plays through the app. You can also send text messages, which Bocco will read out loud.

The people behind it wanted to make it simple enough for children and the elderly to use. Hence there are only two buttons – Record and Play. Most of the interaction is voice messages, so you don’t need much technical knowledge to get by.

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To control the volume while a message is playing, twist his nose.

Telepresence is becoming much more advanced than this, but Bocco is a neat little gadget for those less technically minded. It’s scraped past its $20,000 funding goal on Kickstarter, and will ship in August. You can pick one up for $199 (£133) if you’re early, or the standard retail price of $220 (£147).

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