Caia the Sunshine Robot Will Light Up Your Life

Caia Caecilia is said to have been the Roman name of Tanaquil, a woman endowed with prophetic powers, closely related to the worship of the god of the hearth and home. As such, the Romans looked upon Caia Caecilia as an upstanding model for domestic life. The story goes that, as a newly-married woman, she was asked what her name was before she was permitted entry to the house of her husband. Proudly, she responded “My name is Caia,” and that, as they say, was that.

It’s fun to imagine that the situation went somewhat similarly with the renaming of Lucy, a spherical ball-shaped robot designed to help homeowners harness the amazing natural resource that is the light of the sun. The evolution of the Lucy project eventually led to a different, panel-shaped look, a sharper robotic brain, and a regal new name for this new and improved lady to go by. Her name is Caia, and there’s so much more to her than meets the eye.

Caia is a one of a kind natural lighting technology that brightens up the homes of her owners with actual sunlight, directing up to 13 lightbulbs’ worth of the sun’s rays wherever they’re needed, all day long. All she needs is to be placed in a spot with ample natural light and angled in the direction where that light is needed, be it high or low, near or far — with her most dramatic reach being 100 feet, or just about one third of a professional football field. Beyond that, the effort needed on the customer’s part is minimal, as Caia’s artificial learning capabilities mean she’ll always remember where light is most needed in her new home, and, being solar-powered (of course), she’ll never need to be plugged in to charge or have her batteries replenished. Godlike, indeed.

Caia was created in response to the fact that most people in the Western world spend up to 90 percent of their daily life indoors, many of us without access to an appropriate amount of natural light to maintain comfortable levels of Vitamin D and seratonin in our systems. In particular, she is designed to soften the compromise young professionals often make when living in a big city, renting small apartments with minimal natural lighting, allowing them to live in a space that looks brighter, feels warmer, and is even hospitable to any indoor plants they’ve always wanted to liven up a room with.

“With Caia, I feel more happy and relaxed, like I’m in my natural habitat,” says beta tester Claudia Dattero, an art curator. Max Sabini, a renowned digital video editor, has also praised the robot, noting, “Caia has not only brought new light to my studio, but the natural lighting has had a major impact on my mood and sparks my creative drive.”

The founder and CEO of the Caia team is Diva Tommei, who holds a PhD in bio-informatics from Cambridge University, is a lecturer at the Rome school of business, and a graduate of Nasa and Google Singularity University. She describes herself as a “life-long inventor and hacker,” and, incredibly, can boast having built the very first iteration of Caia single-handedly from scratch. Her creation was bright red at the time, though has since received a style update.

Along with her new name, Caia comes bearing a host of recently-added features that the creators are excited to finally implement. She has a wider range of angles to redirect sunlight, more powerful sensors, metal rather than plastic housings to increase outdoor durability, and a new, foldable design to bring down shipping costs. And, because Caia’s creators understand that not everyone has access to the kind of flat, open surface that Caia to hang out on without a little help, a Universal Mounting System is also available to order, with wall, balcony and pole configurations allowing this lovely little bot can live wherever is convenient.

Since Caia’s funding campaign went live on Indiegogo, she has amassed over 2,700 backers and reached 642 percent of her financial goal — and it truly doesn’t take a genius to see why. With the first shipments of this exciting technology being dispatched this month, the future of solar power has never looked brighter. Her name, I repeat, is Caia.