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romo-robotSAN FRANCISCO — A popular iPhone-powered robot just got a whole lot more customizable.

Romotive, the TechStars Seattle-incubated robotics startup and maker of the Romo, just released an update to its software for iOS that allows users to “train” their Romo to behave in certain ways.

At its core, the Romo is a pair of tank treads with a connector for your iPhone. The phone then acts as the display for the robot’s interface, as well as the controller for the rest of the unit’s functions.

In a session Wednesday at the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, Romotive CEO Keller Rinaudo demoed the ability to teach the robot some new tricks.

Users can set a trigger, like poking the iPhone’s screen in a particular place, and then build out a set of functions that the robot will execute when those conditions are met — like driving, turning and changing the robot’s displayed face. All that is designed to allow users to make a robot that works for their needs.

“The killer use case in personal robotics is personal: it changes from person to person,” Rinaudo said.

The graphical interface is reminiscent of the Lego Mindstorms software, and according to Rinaudo, it’s built for people who have no idea how to program, and it’s designed to give non-programmers (especially kids) an introduction to complex programming concepts without throwing them in the deep end.

Romotive has sold more than 4,000 units so far.

Previously on GeekWire: Romotive unveils new $150 smartphone-controlled robot, lands $5M from Sequoia, others

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