Smart home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri certainly try to have a personality. Ask the right question, and they may even tell you a lame joke. But, you still feel like you’re talking to a soulless appliance. Peeqo is a new robotic assistant that just launched on Kickstarter and offers loads of personality by responding entirely through videos and GIFs.
The idea here is that those memes are already packed full of personality, and so it’s like having a conversation with a friend using only GIFs. Peeqo comes as a Raspberry Pi-based kit that has a 4″ IPS screen to display those videos or GIFs, speakers for sound, a microphone to hear your questions, a camera to watch you when you ask it to, and servos in the body to make it wiggle. The kit can be assembled without any special tools or skills, and comes with everything you need to get started.
Once you’ve put Peeqo together, you can start interacting with it immediately. It comes with built-in skills and a video library — sourced from popular GIF sites — to work with for basics tasks. But, whenever you’re ready to expand that functionality into a fully-fledged smart home assistant, it can easily be integrated with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Jasper, Mycroft, or Snips. By taking advantage of one of those services, you can control your IoT devices using Peeqo.
That does raise some privacy concerns, particularly if you’re using Google or Amazon. But, Peeqo doesn’t do anything online until you use its wake word, which means it’s only “listening” when you expect it to. If you use a service like Jasper, Mycroft, or Snips, your privacy will be respected even when you’re using Peeqo.
The Peeqo Kickstarter campaign is running until March 14th, and early birds can get a Peeqo with an included Raspberry Pi 3B+ for $189. Delivery is expected in September.