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Robotics Science

Telepresence Robot Rundown 51

Posted by samzenpus
from the compare-and-contrast dept.
DeviceGuru writes "A handful of innovative high-tech startups have recently emerged to create a new market: remote telepresence robots. With one of these robotic Avatars, you can wander around in the remote environment, chatting with coworkers and managers, attending meetings, and solving problems encountered through those interactions. InformationWeek's Telepresence Robot Smackdown compares five such bots — the MantaroBot TeleMe, VGo Communications VGo, Anybots QB, Suitable Technologies Beam, and Revolve Robotics Kubi — and includes short videos demonstrating each. As the article concludes, 'bear in mind that what we're witnessing here is the emergence of a new industry; and if Moore's Law applies here as it does to so many IT spheres, it won't be long before these gadgets are inexpensive, commonplace, and far more flexible and intelligent."
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Telepresence Robot Rundown

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  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:21AM (#42574453)

    This sounds great. Now I can hire Indians to work in my office in California.

  • Didnt sheldon already come up with this in the big bang theory? surely he has the patent on these devices...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Moore's law applies to transistors, not to any random tech industry.
  • by fantomas (94850) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:03PM (#42574747)

    Why not just have skype/similar video conferencing software and a few web cams in a different offices?

    What do I get by having a webcam-on-wheels?

    Perhaps the answer is that the distance person controls where they move to... so an issue of power? But I can see low-powered workers subverting that very easily ("oops, sorry, I forgot I put some boxes down, that why you can't come through here. Wait just one moment... / Oh dear we had a small oil spill / the IT techs are working under the carpets ... so your robot won't be able to come into Room X123 today....)

    thoughts? Ideas on the benefits of these devices? Down the line maybe if they have arms and can get involved rather than just talking. But while it's just talking then why not webcams?

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      What do I get by having a webcam-on-wheels?

      A shelbot [youtube.com] in the car, while you safely stay in bed. Bazinga.

    • I think there is a world market for maybe 5 telepresence robots.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Why not just have skype/similar video conferencing software and a few web cams in a different offices?

      What do I get by having a webcam-on-wheels?

      Perhaps the answer is that the distance person controls where they move to... so an issue of power? But I can see low-powered workers subverting that very easily ("oops, sorry, I forgot I put some boxes down, that why you can't come through here. Wait just one moment... / Oh dear we had a small oil spill / the IT techs are working under the carpets ... so your robo

  • by AudioLight (631454) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:35PM (#42574955)
    I have worked with a remote telepresence robot for over 5 years now: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/sep/13/guardianweeklytechnologysection.news [guardian.co.uk] It's quite an interesting social experience. There are many technical challenges to consider (batteries still being what they are). Admittedly, our implementation is more "hobbyist" than anything else, but it's a very functional POC.
  • When I can't attend a social event I'm happy to have an excuse not to, I definitely wouldn't want to waste my time driving around a webcam on a moving coathanger.

  • by krgallagher (743575) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:57PM (#42575105) Homepage
    When I saw the headline I thought someone had hit a robot with a truck.
  • When can I guide one to the grocery store to get some milk when the sidewalks are too icy for me to go out?

  • Someone call the robot paramedics!

  • On a serious note, what kind of strange issues will this create with HR? Am I working in the office or not? If not, why do they say I'm not? I personally think these things are pretty hokey, but it will be interesting to see how they jive with a real office and the people in it.
  • They don't Include Double?! Kind of a half-assed rundown then...

    Also, the article title is much more fun-- Attack of the Telepresence Robots.

  • by kryzx (178628) * on Sunday January 13, 2013 @01:40PM (#42575471) Homepage Journal

    Just think, once everyone is using these we can shrink an office building down to the size of an armoire. Everyone's bot can scurry around the small building being in each other's presence. It will save oodles of money. Of course, once we've done that, we'll realize that the office building is a logical concept that doesn't need a physical presence, and we'll create a virtual office, with virtual presence bots, where everyone roams the virtual halls. And we'll call it WOW or Minecraft, or something like that. World of MeetingCraft?

    • by Sigg3.net (886486)

      I made a project like this at my previous work, since people were all over the world. But I couldn't justify the bandwidth usage in third world countries so IRC ftw!

  • by caseih (160668) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @02:39PM (#42575877)

    I've seen several programs about children with severe allergies that cannot attend school with other kids. The telepresence robots allow them to virtually attend school, and participate in normal classes alongside their class mates. They can go to recess with their classmates, go to the cafeteria, and in general interact with the classroom, the teacher, and the other students in a way that they find to be pretty natural. Sure a webcam and screen would work, but being able to drive remotely and interact as kids do has proved to be very successful. The other kids interact with his avatar robot just as if he were really there. It's quite encouraging to for a child who otherwise would be extremely isolated.

    Maybe these are edge cases, but they do prove how this sort of technology can work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    where's mine? :( we have been selling them since 2010....

    www.robots-everywhere.com

  • When you click buy now, you get a form to submit for a quote.
  • Rule 34. Or, in other words, a major internet industry needs to VC the development of advanced tactile transducers.
  • Finally my first surrogate avatar!
  • Why use a robot if you can afford the real thing? a la Arrested Development and Bob Loblaw.

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