SIXSPEED's Poki Is an Espressif ESP32-S3-Powered Companion Robot for Your Car

Originally prototyped using off-the-shelf development boards, Poki aims to provide an interactive companion for every journey.

SIXSPEED, a group of car enthusiasts from Poland, have turned to crowdfunding to produce a companion robot designed to sit on the dashboard of your car — and using a built-in accelerometer to respond to your driving in real-time.

"Poki is an interactive an intuitive little robot who was made to be your passenger wherever you go," explains SIXSPEED's Adam Tendaj of the compact device he and his friends have designed. "Poki is not just a robot, but your companion for good and band days! You have a blue Monday? Don't worry, your little buddy always knows you to get you in the mood. Beyond featuring over 50 various animations, Poki also responds to your car's movements and interacts with you based on your actions."

Poki promises to provide an always-cheery companion for every journey — who won't argue over the radio. (📹: SIXSPEED)

Prototyped using off-the-shelf Espressif ESP32 microcontroller boards and compact single-color OLED displays, Poki's final form is as an animated "face" peering out from beneath a scale-model racing helmet. The custom board inside uses the Espressif ESP32-S3 Mini system-on-chip paired with a 1.32" 128×96 OLED display, accelerometer, and a touch sensor. There's 8MB of internal storage, expandable with a microSD Card, with power provided using a USB Type-C connector.

At its simplest, Poki just displays preconfigured animations — with simple interaction available through the touch sensor. The inclusion of the accelerometer, though, means it can react to the user's driving to show specific animations for acceleration, braking, and turning. "You really feel like Poki is connected to you and your car," Tendaj claims.

The Poki is now funding on Kickstarter, with rewards starting at €55 (around $59) for early-bird backers; hardware is expected to begin shipping in July this year.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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