High-Tech Robot Shop Opens in East Village

By Serena Solomon on July 11, 2013 9:24am 

EAST VILLAGE — There's almost nothing these robots can't do.

Tinkersphere, a new East Village shop selling robots, electronics and toys, offers everything from $20 pocket-sized androids designed to follow a track of electric tape to a hand-shaped machine for $70 that can be programmed to scratch your back or pour a cup of coffee. The most expensive gadget — a humanoid robot built to function like a person — sells for $1,199.

"Electronics are all around us every day and people don't know how to manipulate them and make the most of them," said 22-year-old Sharon Gershi, who launched Tinkersphere as an online shop last year and just opened the brick-and-mortar shop at 304 E. 5th St. last week.

Shortly after graduating from New York University in 2011 with a dual degree in computer and electrical engineering, Gershi noticed a lack of stores aimed at people who want to build their own gadgets.

"There were a lack of retail spaces for products geared towards hackers, tinkers and makers," the born-and-raised Brooklynite said.

Gershi cited the "maker movement" as a big influence on her business, which was first reported by EV Grieve.

"The maker movement is a whole bunch of people who realize they can create their own things and take charge and automate them," she said. "It is learning how to build your own things to directly cater to your own needs."

Gershi practices what she preaches.

"I try to automate as much as I can inside my house," she said, adding that her lights come on when she claps and an alarm goes off if someone pulls something off her desk.

Gershi also stocks a range of non-electronic items such as puzzles and box models.

"You can start tinkering at any skill level," she said. "If you are an adult or a kid you can find something and learn something."

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