Misty Robotics reckons it's arrived at the startup's "Apple II" moment, a point when its Misty II personal robot will go from development dream to widespread adoption. The capable-looking bot has been designed to be relatively inexpensive and easy to access for those new to robot programming, while capable enough for seasoned roboticists to experiment with.

"Misty II is built for programmers, students, and entrepreneurs interested in robots but have never been able to 'program a robot' because they were either too expensive, required a degree in programming, or lacked useful skills for everyday tasks," the company explained. "Misty II delivers a powerful robot that customers can quickly program and create skills that make her helpful at home and the office."

In case you were wondering what happened to Misty I, that hand-built bot was shown as a developer edition at CES in Las Vegas back in January. Devs and makers are still going to be receiving these pre-production robotic test platforms until the end of the year. But now Misty Robotics – a spin-out from Sphero – is setting its sights on the mass market with the launch of the Misty II.

Designed for developers, students and makers, the 14 x 8 x 10 in (35.56 x 25.4 x 20.32 cm) robot features a 4K camera on the crash helmet-like head that's able to recognize faces and objects. This removable magnetized section is also home to three microphones and an Occipital 3D depth sensor with dual IR cameras help with three-dimensional room mapping.

Below that, Misty II features a 4.3-inch LCD display for displaying its expressions backed up by detachable moving arms. There are six capacitive touch panels around a head which boasts three degrees of movement freedom, and indicator LEDs and a flashlight, too.

Inside are two Snapdragon processors (an 820 and a 410) connected by a LAN bridge, one system running Windows 10 and the other rocking Android 7. Misty II trundles itself along on tank-like continuous tracks driven by brushed motors, with bump sensors front and back and obstacle avoidance sensors to the front, rear and sides. And it runs on a 5,200 mAh/8.4 V Li-ion battery pack, returning to its wireless resonance charging station when running low.

The robot has a pair of "hi-fi" speakers in the chest, and connectivity ports to the rear housed within a magnetic backpack. The company says that an Arduino version of the backpack has been created for tinkerers to swap out and gain access "to hundreds of Arduino shields."

The bot also has a trailer hitch around back for towing lightweight cargo, and if the maker wishes to build on the existing platform, Misty II can be adapted to fit the purpose – accessing CAD files to 3D print task-specific arms for instance.

Programming Misty II to do your bidding is divided into three levels of difficulty, to suit different skillsets. The first layer is aimed at beginners, and makes use of Google's Blocky visual programming editor. Layer two is designed for developers familiar with coding languages like Python and JavaScript. And the final level is for advanced software developers.

Misty Robotics is currently running a crowdfunding effort on its website, where supporters are being invited to back the production effort to the tune of at least US$1,499 (representing over 50 percent off the expected retail price). If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in December. You can see the bot in action in the video below.

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