Technology is moving at such an astounding pace that keeping up is not even the issue any more – showing up is. Remote Presence Devices or RPDs have been rolling into meetings, classrooms and even kids' rooms to keep a robotic eye on things when their biological masters are indisposed. They take on a wide array of physical appearances. Some are simple and direct, like the Anybots QB, while others hold grander aspirations such as the Rbot Synergy Swan. Others are cute and fun, like the Romo Robotic Pet, geared to kids but a hoot for adults too.
The Double Robotics Telepresence Robot, or simply the Double, has rolled into view, offering practical applications for the technology. The University of Montana, always on the cutting edge of high tech, has classes which include students and Doubles. They are suggested as roll-ins for those injured or ill in lieu of a tutor. The Double can act as a videoconference device that follows participants into the hall for the meeting after the meeting.
Connectivity is achieved through WiFi with an iPad tablet for a head -- it requires another iOS device to control it remotely. Double can telescope to 5 feet tall, weighs 15 lbs. and can function on a single charge for 6 to 8 hours. It can even be driven back to its charging station remotely. The Look feature is useful for appraising the Double’s situation. Should a low lying obstruction impede forward progression, a downward facing mirror at the head affords a view of the wheels. In seeming defiance of long admired gravitational standards, and owing to a combination of gyroscope and accelerometers, the Double is all but untippable. In a stationary position, it is designed to shift slightly in order to maintain an upright posture. This movement gives it a more human quality by allowing it to upstage people who could actually be bothered to show up. It seems pricey for what amounts to an iPad holder on RC wheels, but with the charging station, a better mic and speaker, any equivocation is eliminated.
Still cool as h**l and a real tool for remote interaction. Price needs to come down though.
Yes, it works really well and for someone who doesn't use video calling as a form of communication very often, it was a very seamless experience.
The audio connection generally kept pace, and there was no annoying communication lag.
Part robot, part tablet, the Double Telepresence Robot is a delightfully simple solution for the frequent telecommuter who values face time with in-office colleagues.
Essentially, the robot is your body double – inserting you into a remote location, mobile video conferencing through your iPad.