As for creating a home "companion", you might consider talking to some elderly people. They often live alone and could use a robot to perhaps help them do things. Perhaps talk to some elderly people about what they might need. It looks like you can use things other than Vex components, so perhaps there is a way to integrate a cellphone or Kindle or iPad or something to conduct face-time type interactions, perhaps even using light sensors to read very simple signals on the cellphone screen so relatives can order the robot around remotely that way, checking on somebody who is ill, etc. Or via some kind of Bluetooth interface. Sometimes distant relatives just want to make sure a loved one hasn't fallen down the stairs, for example, so it might be nice to have a small robot that can look around a home, checking on people, checking to make sure they didn't leave the stove burner on, etc.