Welcome to the 21st century's take on those venerable Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Thanks to sophisticated digital servos, these 16-inch-tall aluminum alloy robots can stoop, dodge and weave, and throw uppercuts, jabs and crosses, just like a flesh-and-blood pugilist — all controlled by an Android or iPhone app. The only thing these miniature Reel Steel fighters can't do is float like a butterfly.
The Cloudrobots, seen in our video below, have electromagnetic booties that keep them more or less stationary and upright on their custom mirrored canvas. Bouts are scored on points, with punches and hits tracked by an Android or iOS app. Lithium batteries supply enough juice for a five-round bout.
Cloudrobots aren't named for any ethereal qualities, but rather for their breakthrough remote play capabilities — you can battle with someone who owns a pair anywhere in the world. Each player controls their own boxing 'bot at home, with the opponent's actions mirrored at both ends. All the action is portrayed in the app in 3D CGI.
The Hungarian developers at TTTech, the inventors of Cloudrobots, haven't set a price yet — somewhere between $100 and $1,000, I was told. And don't worry about those exposed wires: by the time Cloudrobots go on sale later this year, they'll be enclosed in sleek armor.