KELLER RINAUDO AND HIS fellow inventors could have named their robot anything. Their company, Romotive—which gained recognition while participating in Seattle startup incubator TechStars—turns your iPhone into a talking, roving, slightly annoying robot. Basically, you attach your smartphone to a mechanical body, which moves via tanklike tracks and reacts to stimuli.
To demo the device, the Romotive crew filmed a number of spots featuring a prototype robot patrolling an office and even “falling in love.” Rinaudo, who grew up in Seattle but now lives in Las Vegas, could’ve christened the prototype anything, but, geeks that they are, he and his cofounders named it Steve, after the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Though admittedly, there may not always be a Steve on the Romotive team. “There’s been talk,” Rinaudo says, “of making the next robot a female.”